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Any Advantages of Planar Magnetics vs regular

bravomail

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#1
I did some reading on how planar headphones work. It is pretty amazing. And in theory the sound should be different, or better. But is it quantifiable. Like, I don't see reviewers setting Monoprice M1060 ahead of say Sennheiser 6xx. I haven't read that much about orthodymanics as I'm scared by their hard drivebility and having to have a big amp. But anyone who owns planars can compare them to conventional good headphones and say that there is a difference and it is outside of frequency domain.
I will give you another example. I bought JVC flats for mobile use. They sound amazing. But after some time what I realized is that sound source in JVC flats is too tiny, too point like. And because of such sharp directionality it hurt my ears after some time. So I switched back to Monoprice 8323 or Audiotechnica M40x.
If anyone can say something on the subject of planar superiority - pls do!
 

Frank Dernie

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#2
Implementation is the important thing IME not drive unit type.
Most headphone drivers are clamped around their periphery so none of these are pistonic. The few headphones using a flexible surround (like speaker drivers have) may have drivers that are pistonic over a substantial portion of the frequency range still have non-linearity in the movement of the surround, which is a bigger proportion of the whole driver than it is in a loudspeaker.
My experience is that all types can be excellent not just “planars”.
There are lots of other important aspects such as whether the ear cup resonance is properly dealt with, does the headband cause crosstalk from one cup to the other etc..
 

solderdude

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#3
I don't think one type of driver is 'better' than the other.
As mentioned by Frank it's the implementation.

I heard excellent and poor sounding planars and excellent and poor sounding dynamics.
Electrostats and electrets are also planars (just not magnetic planars).
Heard excellent and poor electrostats and electrets.

Some swear by eletrostatics, some by magnetic planars, others by various types of dynamic drivers, some by M.A., some like hybrids.
Others may have completely different preferences.

Just listen to them and see (ermm hear) what you like and don't look at the technology as much.
The same goes for DACs... the chip isn't as important as its implementation.
 

bravomail

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#4
Thx, guys! from what I read on InnerFidelity- bass is strong suit of planars. And treble is implementation specific. And planar magnetics are said to be heavy due to magnets. Monoprice M1060 has this giant metal headband (ugly to me). HE4xx said to have emphasized treble of which I'm not big fan either. I guess I will be in the limbo until my AKG K7xx dies or some other circumstances.
 

bigx5murf

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#5
Thx, guys! from what I read on InnerFidelity- bass is strong suit of planars. And treble is implementation specific. And planar magnetics are said to be heavy due to magnets. Monoprice M1060 has this giant metal headband (ugly to me). HE4xx said to have emphasized treble of which I'm not big fan either. I guess I will be in the limbo until my AKG K7xx dies or some other circumstances.
When people say bass is the strong suit of planars, most people immediately think that means bass output. That's not the case, in fact my first experience with planar (t50rp), my initial impression was it had less bass output than I was used to. The reason for that was multiple factors. The major ones being, they're less efficient, and they're more accurate (bass decays quicker, which to the uninitiated seems like less output).
 
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#6
Much like was said earlier the driver type doesn't mean the headphones will be good. I own a bunch of planar and dynamic driver headphones and I will say that I prefer planar over dynamic. However I feel that my collection isn't really balanced, by that I mean I own more expensive planars over dynamic headphones. Planars tend to be more expensive in general which might explain why one would think they are better. My observation has been that planars tend to have a more refined and even response than dynamic drivers. For me though, the M1060's were ruined by ringing caused by something referred to as the "ortho wall". I've experienced this slightly with a pair of Audeze EL-8 open backs a coworker had as well.
 

maxxevv

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#7
Thx, guys! from what I read on InnerFidelity- bass is strong suit of planars. And treble is implementation specific. And planar magnetics are said to be heavy due to magnets. Monoprice M1060 has this giant metal headband (ugly to me). HE4xx said to have emphasized treble of which I'm not big fan either. I guess I will be in the limbo until my AKG K7xx dies or some other circumstances.

It might be a combination of DAC and Amp used that induced the treble emphasis. Distortion sometimes comes across as "glare" to some people's ears.

Try it on a system that is measurably well powered and low in distortion, chances are its not really there. I have the HE4XX, though my system is not measured, but to my ears, its definitely not treble emphasised.
 
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#8
Try it on a system that is measurably well powered and low in distortion, chances are its not really there. I have the HE4XX, though my system is not measured, but to my ears, its definitely not treble emphasised.
I too own the HE4XX and and don't find any issue with the treble however I have heard others say the same thing. I think it's a matter of not everyone's ears are the same. More reason to hear em yourself.
 
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#9
The biggest difference I've found with planars is detail. They seem to excel at responding to the minute transients that give music its character much more quickly and accurately that dynamic drivers. They just sound more open and "crisp". Regarding bass... Most of the better planars have bass that is flat to 20 Hz and below - not boosted, but flat and accurate. If you like the sound of dynamic drivers that add overtones, giving the bass a pleasant, "rich" (but inaccurate) sound, you are not going to like planars. Planars tend to reproduce bass accurately, quickly, and without overtones. If the bass isn't there, planars won't add it.

I own a pair of HiFiMan Arya planar headphones. They have a neutral, accurate sound without any annoying peaks or valleys. The way they present the low, low bass of orchestral double basses gives me chills. Sibilants are smooth, as are cymbals - no harshness at all, but not recessed. The mids are not too forward, as is the case with some planars. Female vocals and lead saxophones are so present and pleasing that they give me goosebumps.

I don't have a lot of experience with equally priced dynamic headphones, but a lack of low and sub-bass seems to be the achilles heel of many of them, such as the HD800s. I also own a pair of HiFiMan He400i headphones. They lack sub-bass, and aren't as open as the Arya. They are good for vocal music, acoustic music, etc, but the lack of bass is a problem with pop, rock, and even dynamic orchestral music. For me, I have trouble imagining a better sounding headphone than the Arya. I drive them with a JDS Element, which is more than enough.

By the way, RTings and DIY Audio Heaven are good sources for headphone reviews - lots of graphs and measurements.
 
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#10
I don't have a lot of experience with equally priced dynamic headphones, but a lack of low and sub-bass seems to be the achilles heel of many of them, such as the HD800s.
And those that can do sub-bass properly are often too dark and very far from neutral. That's how you end up with unlikely bargain-tier contenders like the Superlux HD681-Evo and HD662-Evo (w. Solderdude's mod) being so enjoyable that some owners say they've found themselves using them more than their HD580s or HD800s. :))

By the way, RTings and DIY Audio Heaven are good sources for headphone reviews - lots of graphs and measurements.
Weelll, Rtings is a good source of measurements once you learn which parts to take seriously (FR, isolation), which to be reserved about (soundstage, imaging) and which to laugh at (the "critical listening" rating).
 

JJB70

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#11
I think that as others have already said, it is about implementation and a well designed dynamic headphone can perform exceptionally well. However planar magnetic sounds high tech and exotic and is a good marketing handle. That is not to criticise planar magnetic headphones (I love my Oppo PM-2) but it is far too simplistic to assume that headphones using a particular type of driver will be better or worse than alternatives. Any idea can be well or badly implemented and there are variables other than driver selection which influence sound quality.
 
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