How do Planar Magnetic Headphone Drivers Work?
Leave it to the mad scientist audio experts to revive a long forgotten technology from the 1970’s! Planar Magnetic technology is ushering in a new era of incredible sound quality based on this older component structure.
To the delight of ears around the world, a few specialized HiFi audio headphone companies have begun to create masterpieces in recent years that use old school planar drivers instead of common, coiled dynamic drivers most headphones and speakers utilize.
A hybrid of electrostatic and typical dynamic driver styling, Planar Magnetic designs are known for exceptionally rich bass, albeit at the cost of a spacious sound signature.
Where normal dynamic drivers use a magnet wrapped in a coil, Planar drivers use a thin diaphragm composed of a film material is immersed between powerful conductors (magnets).
See image of Audeze planar magnetic driver below:
Image via www.head-fi.org
This diaphragm material has thinner, flat conductor wires that rests upon its surface. The end result is a sound known for exuding a great deal of substance to the audio presentation. The quantity of physical body or weightiness to the sound signature tends to
be far superior to dynamic driver sounds, which also have a higher impact and deep reaching bass potential than electrostatics.
Typically, electrostatic headphones push out a buttery smooth type of sound, one that is very easy on the ears with an effortless approach to their sound signature. Dynamic headphones (the most common type of speaker or headphone) generally have a thinner sound and are known for excellent sound staging potential in higher end models.
Planar magnetics are a different beast entirely, certainly the meatiest on the low-end and solid sounding type of headphone that has been invented to date.
Planar headphones tend to be very heavy and bulky, also offering a great deal of bass purity as well as more potential for high quantities of low end.
Audeze for example, has created a selection of impressive planar magnetic headphones that have recently swept the audio industry by storm.
Another image of an actual Audeze driver:
Image via innerfidelity.com
One flaw of the planar designs is that the overall vastness of the presentation can be known to be quite congested and lacking an airy appeal. However, these headphones make up for that congested feel with a highly intimate presentation and excellent stage depth.