Updated February 16, 2019 by Christopher Thomas

The 10 Best Planar Magnetic Headphones

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Best High-End
Best Mid-Range
Best Inexpensive

This wiki has been updated 10 times since it was first published in February of 2019. Planar magnetic headphones are commonly regarded as some of the best-sounding on the market, which is often reflected by their cost. While you can make a huge investment in these high-end cans, that's not always necessary, as there are many options available across various price points. Here are some of the best models offering tonal clarity and full bass responses. When users buy our independently chosen editorial recommendations, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki. Skip to the best planar magnetic headphone on Amazon.

10. HiFiMan HE-400I

9. Oppo PM-3

8. Audeze LCD-3

7. Advanced Alpha

This item has been flagged for editorial review and is not available.

6. Audeze EL-8

5. Audeze iSine20

4. Mr. Speakers Ether Flow

3. HiFiMan HE1000 V2

2. Mr. Speakers Aeon Flow

1. Audeze LCD-X

Editor's Notes

February 13, 2019:

When you place two identical magnetically charged metals near each other (i.e., two "north" poles), they're physically forced away from each other. Most headphones work using this same principle, but instead of two permanent magnets, they use a single static element, and an electrical conductor, whose magnetic charge changes based on how much current is passing through. Typical dynamic drivers do this by running wires to a conductor that's placed behind a magnet, which feeds its vibration to a cone, producing sound that then heads straight for the ears. Planar magnetic headphones, on the other hand, use a wide and flat conductor and magnetic film (hence the "planar" terminology), which drastically changes the manner of the sound. Among the most noticeable advantages is a vastly increased sound stage. The term "sound stage" essentially refers to how big of a room it sounds like you're in while wearing a pair of headphones. Planar magnetic headphones offer a truly massive sound stage, and positively dwarf nearly every set of dynamic drivers, across the board. They aren't perfect, of course; they're heavier and far more costly than typical cans, but it's basically impossible to argue against their incredible sound quality. They also tend to offer a much wider and more physical bass response, as well as quicker action, which keeps the loudest and most complex music from ever sounding muddy. And when it comes to planar dynamics, Audeze is by far the most popular manufacturer.

Christopher Thomas
Last updated on February 16, 2019 by Christopher Thomas

Building PCs, remodeling, and cooking since he was young, quasi-renowned trumpeter Christopher Thomas traveled the USA performing at and organizing shows from an early age. His work experiences led him to open a catering company, eventually becoming a sous chef in several fine LA restaurants. He enjoys all sorts of barely necessary gadgets, specialty computing, cutting-edge video games, and modern social policy. He has given talks on debunking pseudoscience, the Dunning-Kruger effect, culinary technique, and traveling. After two decades of product and market research, Chris has a keen sense of what people want to know and how to explain it clearly. He delights in parsing complex subjects for anyone who will listen -- because teaching is the best way to ensure that you understand things yourself.

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