In the world of headphones, there are so many options available that it can sometimes be overwhelming for someone who is looking to buy a new pair. 

If you’re looking for top-tier sound quality, one such category of headphones called “planar magnetic headphones” just might be the right fit for you. 

These headphones use modern technology that makes them superior in many ways to other types of headphones. Planar magnetic headphones, which are traditionally quite expensive, have become more and more affordable.

So, what makes planar magnetic headphones better than others? How is the planar magnetic headphone technology different? What are the best planar magnetic headphones available?

This article will help you answer all of these questions and more. 

Authors Pick
Monolith M1060 Over-Ear Planar Magnetic Headphones
HIFIMAN HE-400I Over Ear Full
HIFIMAN SUNDARA Over-Ear Full-Size Planar Magnetic HiFi
SIVGA P-Ⅱ Over-Ear Planar Magnetic Headphone
HIFIMAN Arya Stealth Magnet Version Full-Size
Monolith M1060 Over Ear Planar Magnetic Headphones - Black/Wood With 106mm Driver, Open Back Design,...
HIFIMAN HE-400I Over Ear Full-Size Planar Magnetic Headphones Adjustable Headphone with Comfortable...
HIFIMAN SUNDARA Over-Ear Full-Size Planar Magnetic HiFi Stereo Wired Headphones for...
SIVGA P-Ⅱ Over Ear Open Back Walnut Wood Planar Magnetic Headphone
HIFIMAN Arya Stealth Magnet Version Full-Size Over-Ear Planar Magnetic Headphone for...
Weight
4.16 ounces
13.1 ounces
0.82 lbs
1.01 pounds
3.31 pounds
Dimensions
11.8 x 12.2 x 4.9 inches
8 x 7 x 4.5 inches
11 x 6.8 x 12.1 inches
10.51 x 9.37 x 4.06 inches
4.69 x 4.09 x 2.83 inches
Pros
- Open-back headphones
- Provides a holographic listening experience
- Good sound quality
- Price is good
- Designed for critical listening in the studio or home
- Provides extra comfort and great sound quality
- Decent build quality
- Made of perforated and Leatherette for more comfort
- High resolution bass and wonderfully subtle
- Great passive soundstage
- Luxuriously soft headphone pads
- High protein leather earmuffs and sheath
- Amazing build quality
- Comfortable to wear
- Excellent bass extension.
- Wonderfully natural sound
- Comfortable to wear
Cons
- Quite heavy
- Design is sensitive to ambient noise
- Big and bulky
- No EQ or presets
- Not designed for critical listening
- Bass doesn't translate as well for metal without a little EQing
Authors Pick
Monolith M1060 Over-Ear Planar Magnetic Headphones
Monolith M1060 Over Ear Planar Magnetic Headphones - Black/Wood With 106mm Driver, Open Back Design,...
Weight
4.16 ounces
Dimensions
11.8 x 12.2 x 4.9 inches
Pros
- Open-back headphones
- Provides a holographic listening experience
- Good sound quality
- Price is good
Cons
- Quite heavy
HIFIMAN HE-400I Over Ear Full
HIFIMAN HE-400I Over Ear Full-Size Planar Magnetic Headphones Adjustable Headphone with Comfortable...
Weight
13.1 ounces
Dimensions
8 x 7 x 4.5 inches
Pros
- Designed for critical listening in the studio or home
- Provides extra comfort and great sound quality
- Decent build quality
- Made of perforated and Leatherette for more comfort
Cons
- Design is sensitive to ambient noise
- Big and bulky
HIFIMAN SUNDARA Over-Ear Full-Size Planar Magnetic HiFi
HIFIMAN SUNDARA Over-Ear Full-Size Planar Magnetic HiFi Stereo Wired Headphones for...
Weight
0.82 lbs
Dimensions
11 x 6.8 x 12.1 inches
Pros
- High resolution bass and wonderfully subtle
- Great passive soundstage
- Luxuriously soft headphone pads
Cons
- No EQ or presets
SIVGA P-Ⅱ Over-Ear Planar Magnetic Headphone
SIVGA P-Ⅱ Over Ear Open Back Walnut Wood Planar Magnetic Headphone
Weight
1.01 pounds
Dimensions
10.51 x 9.37 x 4.06 inches
Pros
- High protein leather earmuffs and sheath
- Amazing build quality
- Comfortable to wear
Cons
- Not designed for critical listening
HIFIMAN Arya Stealth Magnet Version Full-Size
HIFIMAN Arya Stealth Magnet Version Full-Size Over-Ear Planar Magnetic Headphone for...
Weight
3.31 pounds
Dimensions
4.69 x 4.09 x 2.83 inches
Pros
- Excellent bass extension.
- Wonderfully natural sound
- Comfortable to wear
Cons
- Bass doesn't translate as well for metal without a little EQing

What Are Planar Magnetic Headphones?

Planar magnetic headphones combine aspects of dynamic and electrostatic headphones. A conductive diaphragm is placed between an array of magnets to form a planar driver, which can be round or square.

Planar magnetic headphones have been around for decades, but they gained a name for themselves in the headphone market around 2010 with designs from new firms like Audeze and HIFIMAN.

Planar magnetic headphones feature less distortion and faster response than typical dynamic systems. They are often heavier than dynamic headphones. However, the majority of the newer versions are quite comfortable.

Due to its uniformly suspended diaphragm material in between permanent magnetic fields, planar magnetic drivers make headphones exceptionally resistant to all types of audio and electrical distortion. It also provides them with incredibly rapid reaction times, with little to no transient sound occurring when the audio source ceases to deliver low or high frequencies.

How Do Planar Magnetic Headphones Work?

Planar magnetic headphones work a little differently than most headphones. In place of coils and magnets, a tied piece of flexible film is placed inside the driver.

There are small wires running through this film, and magnets are placed surrounding it. To move the drivers and produce sound, the headphones send an electric current through these thin cords, which makes the film permanent magnetic. Sound is created when the magnets behind and in front of the film move the film.

Why Should You Get Planar Magnetic Headphones?

Planar magnetic headphones’ benefits are well known to the audiophile community, but not so much to the casual observer. These headphones fall somewhere between dynamically controlled headphones and electrostatic headphones.

They use an ultra-thin, super-fast diaphragm placed between the magnets. This means you can work around some of the limitations placed on dynamic driver headphones.

All types of planar magnetic headphones have their pros and cons, so you should decide which are the best for you.

In comparison to regular headphones, there are many features that make planar magnetic headphones sound better. They are more durable because there are fewer moving parts that cause sound degradation. They are also capable of handling heat much better. 

1. Monolith M1060 Over-Ear Planar Magnetic Headphones

The M1060 headphones have a rugged yet distinguished look and deliver sound quality to match. They are equipped with state-of-the-art technology to give you the perfect listening experience.

The Monolith M1060 Headset comes with distinctive 106mm flat speakers. These speakers have low distortion even at the highest volume.

The sound is perfectly balanced, allowing it to recover a range of outstanding detail from the track that is playing. This headset has a frequency response of 10 Hz to 50 kHz and an impedance of 50 Ω.

The M1060 uses an open-back design that delivers a sound quality close to that of a live performance. These earbuds don’t cut you off from your surroundings but deliver full, immersive sound.

Although the monolithic flat panels are large and sturdy, they are comfortable enough for everyday use. Its earpads are made of high-quality imitation leather and it has extra padding on the headband for maximized comfort.

Specifications:

Product dimensions: 11.8 x 12.2 x 4.9 inches

Weight: 4.2 ounces

Model Name: M1060

Form Factor: In-ear

Brand: Monolith

Color: Black

Connectivity Technology: Wired

Pros

  • These are open-back headphones
  • It provides a holographic listening experience
  • It has good sound quality
  • It requires basic connections
  • It has low power requirements
  • The price is good

Cons

  • Quite heavy

2. HIFIMAN HE-400I Over Ear Full

The HIFIMAN HE-400i is a pair of full-size planar magnetic headphones of exceptional quality.  These headphones are ideal for active listening in a home or studio.

At just more than twelve ounces, the HE-400i is 30% lighter than competing brands, letting the listener enjoy music for hours on end.

Furthermore, a redesigned headband and beveled hybrid ear cushions provide comfort and improve sound quality. The headphones are reinforced with steel for maximum support and durability. 

Because of its enhanced efficiency of 93dB, it may be powered by a small amplifier or portable music player.

To ensure your safety while purchasing and the highest level of expertise and service, HIFIMAN items are sold through selected, approved retail partners. HIFIMAN items that are not sold by authorized partners are not authenticated and cannot be covered by the HIFIMAN factory service or manufacturer’s warranty.

As one of the most prominent creatures of planar magnetic headphones, HIFIMAN is known for its state-of-the-art technology and user experience. 

Specifications:

Impedance: 35 Ohm 

Weight: 370g

Sensitivity: 93dB

Frequency: 20Hz-35KHz 

Cable: 1.5m detachable 

Connectors: 3.5mm

Display Box: ¼ inch

Type of Adapter: Open-Back

Pros

  • It’s designed for critical listening in the studio or home
  • It provides extra comfort and great sound quality
  • It has a fast response time due to its lightweight diaphragm design
  • It has decent build quality
  • It’s made of perforated and Leatherette for more comfort

Cons

  • Its design is sensitive to ambient noise
  • Big and bulky

3. HIFIMAN SUNDARA Over-Ear Full-Size Planar Magnetic HiFi

The HiFiMan Sundara is ideal for producing balanced sound. Its “supernano” diaphragm is 80% thinner than other designs from the same company, which allows it to have a faster response time with a wider frequency. 

It also produces consistent sound, so you shouldn’t have to re-adjust it all the time.

Its soundstage is broad and vast, which aids in the creation of an immersive listening experience.

These headphones offer a very consistent frequency response. Their treble delivery can vary based on fit and location, although most listeners wouldn’t notice.

You should receive perfect sound delivery when you take a moment to modify them.

The metal headband makes these headphones more durable, while a strap on top of the headphones that spreads their weight allows for maximum comfort. 

Specifications:

Frequency Response: 6Hz – 75kHz 

Impedance: 37 ohms 

Sensitivity: 94dB 

Weight: 372g 

Product Dimensions: 11 x 6.8 x 12.1 inches

Model Name: Sundara

Color: Black

Connectivity Technology: Wired

Form Factor: Over-Ear

Pros

  • The bass is high resolution and wonderfully subtle
  • It has a great passive soundstage
  • The headphones pads are luxuriously soft
  • It has very consistent sound delivery
  • It’s well-built and comfortable

Cons

  • No EQ or presets

4. SIVGA P-Ⅱ Over-Ear Planar Magnetic Headphone

A priceless work of art, SIVGA headphones were designed with an ideal blend of materials, expertise, and sound. These headphones were launched in 2020.

The tech staff worked for more than three years researching and developing the acoustic design, diaphragm material, ID design, and speaker structure.

The design features a chamber made out of black walnut, which is supposed to create a better sound. The company describes their sound as “meaty, rich, and juicy,” stating that this effect is created through sound layering. 

The earmuffs are made out of leather that is high in protein, which allows them to be closer to the user’s head, maximizing comfort.  

The manufacturing process requires a significant amount of time and people, including fumigation, repeated oiling and drying, wood selection, wood dry humidity management, polishing, grinding, and cleaning.

Specifications:

Package Dimensions: 10.51 x 9.37 x 4.06 inches 

Size of the Transducer: 97mm*76mm

Impedance: 32 Ohm

Frequency Response: 20Hz – 40KHz 

Wood: Walnut

Sensitivity: 98dB 

Weight: 420g 

Pros

  • The headband earmuffs and sheath have high protein leather
  • These are very comfortable to wear
  • It has an amazing build quality
  • It's well-balanced; rich and full-bodied
  • It has colorful imaging

Cons

  • Not designed for critical listening

5. HIFIMAN Arya Stealth Magnet Version Full-Size

The HiFiMan Arya Stealth Magnet is a fantastic set of planar magnetic headphones that can easily compete with a few of the HiFiMan family’s more pricey models.

While its sound is not as loud as its other competitors, this is because the Arya Stealth Magnet focuses on smooth and detailed planar magnetic sound. It has clean mids, strong bass, and bright highs.

These planar headphones are lighter on the head than many other planars in their class without sacrificing any sound quality. The crisp sound that users hear is partially achieved by the specific shape of their stealth magnets, which reduce distortion.

The headphones feature ear cups that are not circular but instead are shaped specifically to conform to the human ear. They also contain film technology developed by HIFIMAN that creates a uniquely excellent sound. 

Specifications:

Impedance: 32 ohms 

Sensitivity: 94dB 

Frequency Response: 8Hz-65kHz

Weight: 404g (14.3oz) 

Product Dimensions: 4.69 x 4.09 x 2.83 inches

Pros

  • It has very good imaging: sound sources are easy to place
  • Amazing detail
  • It has an excellent bass extension
  • It has a wonderfully natural sound
  • Exceptionally comfortable

Cons

  • Bass doesn't translate as well for metal without a little EQing

FAQs

How Are Planar Magnetic Headphones Better?

Planar magnetic headphones sound better than normal headphones due to a few fundamental properties. Firstly, because there are fewer moving elements to cause auditory damage, these headphones are more durable. Secondly, planar drivers are great at handling the heat.

In terms of sound, planar magnetic headphones have lowered distortion and a wider frequency response range. This is due to the magnetic force’s ability to push the really narrow diaphragm significantly quicker. The diaphragm’s speed also makes these headphones more responsive and accurate in comparison to the input signal.

Should You Get Open or Closed-back Planar Magnetic Headphones?

You may be wondering if an open or closed-back set of headphones is best for you. In short, the decision is based on what you are searching for. Closed-back headphones often offer more powerful bass frequencies. 

Open-back headphones on the other hand may let more sound in and out, which creates a more authentic listening experience. The difference between open and closed earcup design is not as significant as the difference in driver quality.

It is recommended to try on different sets of headphones to evaluate what type of design you prefer more. 

What Should You Look For in a Pair of Planar Magnetic Headphones?

The answer to this question depends on how much you are willing to spend. However, even if you are on a tight budget, it is recommended that driver technology is the first thing you look for.

Following that, assess the general quality, making sure to keep a lookout for long-lasting materials such as wood or metal. Comfortability is also an important and underrated factor. 

Finally, evaluate how you want to use the headphones. For example, they must be lightweight if you intend to carry them wherever you go.

Is There Any Distortion of Sound?

A Planar Magnetic Driver is made up of two magnets and conductors that are uniformly dispersed throughout the surface. There is nearly zero risk of the diaphragm moving unsteadily. As a result, there is less distortion and greater sound quality.

Does Impedance or Sensitivity Matter When Buying Headphones?

You should examine the impedance and sensitivity combination while looking for the best planar magnetic headphones. Impedance is a measurement of the electrical resistance produced by the headphones’ speakers, whereas sensitivity is a measurement of the maximum potential loudness of headphone speakers at a given power level.

Headphones will function better and create a more desirable sound when the difference between these numerical values is greater. 

Conclusion

Planar magnetic headphones are undoubtedly more pricey than regular headphones, but the sound quality they provide is definitely worth the money. 

Our favorite pick is Monolith M1060. These are great for home theater or serious music listening use if you want outstanding quality without the high price tag. They have a huge planar speaker and an open-back design that produces a detailed sound picture with perfect stereo imaging.

Monolith M1060 Over Ear Planar Magnetic Headphones - Black/Wood With 106mm Driver, Open Back Design,...
  • Planar Drivers: Not your typical headphone driver! A planar magnetic driver is a flat membrane that is surrounded by magnets.
  • Open Back Design: Instead of an "inside your head" isolated experience that traditional closed-back headphones provide, open-back headphones provide a holographic listening experience.
  • Comfort: The Monolith M1060 has been engineered to be comfortable for extended listening sessions. Large, comfy earpads are designed to keep you comfortable as you listen.

These headphones deliver great sound quality and are perfect for everyday use. You should definitely give it a try!

HOPEFULLY! Our guide will help you choose the best planar magnetic headphones.

About the Author

I am the head author of ForTheSound. I want to bring you the best in-depth reviews of Headphones and earbuds. As a travel addict, I can not live without my headphones as my companion on my journeys.

Frank

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