8 Best Planar Magnetic Headphones (Wired+Wireless) 

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  • Get to know the best wired or wireless planar magnetic headphones
  • Find what advantages planar magnetic headphones offer
  • Learn how to choose the right options for your needs
  • Also, check out the Best 7.1 Surround Headphones For Immersion

A pair of headphones is the best companion for audiophiles, music producers, and music enjoyers.

No matter which one you are, you want to make sure that your cans provide the best sound for your needs. 

If you are looking for a pair of headphones, you should consider getting ones with planar magnetic drivers.

Here’s why:

What Are The Advantages Of Planar Headphones?

Planar speakers tend to have an almost entirely resistive impedance, which means that they are easy to drive and have low distortion.

These drivers are also known to be more versatile because of how they are constructed, which gives a wider frequency range.

Individuals who love a more neutral and more accurate sound reproduction will appreciate planar headphones. 

What Are The Best Planar Magnetic Headphones (Wired & Wireless)?

Our top picks include:

  1. Audeze LCD-2 Classic (Our Pick)
  2. HiFiMAN 400SE (Best Value)
  3. HiFiMAN Susvara (Best Premium)
  4. Final Audio D8000
  5. Oppo PM-3
  6. HiFiMAN Ananda BT
  7. Audeze Sine
  8. Mr. Speakers Aeon

1. Audeze LCD-2 Classic (Our Pick)

Our Pick
Audeze LCD-2 Classic

The beautifully handcrafted Audeze LCD-2 delivers audiophile quality, low-distortion sound that articulates the power and nuance of your favorite music. 

Why We Love It:
  • Sturdy design
  • Delivers lifelike sound
  • Comfortable to wear
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The Audeze LCD-2 Classic (LCD-2C) offers the iconic bass response associated with the brand while incorporating the features users of the original LCD-2 know and love. 

Key Features:

  • Maximum volume: greater than 130 dB
  • Frequency response: 10Hz to 50kHz
  • Impedance; 70 ohms
  • Weight: 544 grams
  • Non-Fazor
  • Open-back
  • Over-the-ear

Pros:

  • Comes with 1.9m 1/4 inches to dual 4-pin mini-XLR cable
  • Hardy travel case for protection while in transit
  • Has the iconic Audeze sound

Cons:

  • Bulky

Review

Audeze has made a name in the industry for its bespoke, high-quality headphones. Their earliest offering in the headphones department was LCD-2, which was then improved upon and superseded by the LCD-2C.

In the LCD-2Cs, Audeze removed the Fazor Wave Guidance technology deployed in modern LCD-2s, which brings the Classic much closer to the original sound and pairs well with rock and more contemporary genres.

These open-back headphones come in a sturdy design, thanks to their stainless steel and aluminum body. 

As can be expected with robust headphones, they can be pretty weighty at a little more than 500 grams. “Are they comfortable though?”, I hear you say.

The short answer is yes – the company’s patented over-head suspension design has been engineered (and engineered again) with an emphasis on providing maximum comfort to the listener. 

2. HiFiMAN 400SE (Best Value)

Best Value
HiFiMAN HE400SE
$109.00

The HE400se are entry-level planar magnetic headphones from audio manufacturer HiFiMan, and are the best choice for individuals looking for the best value.

Why We Love It:
  • Affordable
  • Detachable cable
  • Remarkably clear
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08/10/2022 03:02 am GMT

The 400SE is the best choice for individuals looking for a great price-to-performance ratio.

Key Features:

  • Maximum volume: 92 dB
  • Frequency response: 20HZ to 20kHz
  • Impedance: 25 ohms
  • Weight: 390 grams
  • Open-back
  • Over-the-ear

Pros:

  • Pretty easy to drive at 25 ohms
  • Comes with a detachable 3.5mm cable
  • Offers the best price-to-performance ratio

Cons:

  • Less portability

Review

The Hifiman HE 400se open-back headphones provide a sound quality that rivals that of headphones 2 to 3 times the price with its clear and defined sound stage, with minimal coloration.

One thing to note about the 400SE is that it does not come with the brand’s patented Window Shade design, which may or may not disappoint some readers.

Remarkably clear and more musical than expected, the mid-bass is tight and makes up for the slight lack of sub-bass (despite claiming they go down to 20Hz).

The stereo effect and sound stage of these cans are a big plus and something that swayed my opinion when awarding these my pick for ‘best value headphones’.

3. HiFiMan Susvara (Best Premium)

Best Premium
HiFiMan Susvara
$5,999.00

The HiFiMan Susvara open-back planar-magnetic headphone has drivers that give you detailed audio and super-low distortion.

Why We Love It:
  • Hybrid earpads
  • Clear, accurate sound
  • Premium comfort and style
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08/10/2022 12:56 am GMT

If you are looking for high-end headphones, then the Susvara should be at the top of your list with its $6,000+ price tag.

Key Features:

  • Maximum volume: 83 dB
  • Frequency response: 6 Hz to 75 kHz
  • Impedance: 60 ohms
  • Weight: 450 grams
  • Open-back
  • Over-the-ear
  • Window Shade system

Pros:

  • Attractive and functional Window Shade design
  • Hybrid earpads for comfort
  • Asymmetric cups

Cons:

  • Extremely steep price tag

Review

Similar to HiFiMAN Arya, the Susvara has the Window Shade system that seeks to prevent boominess while creating a clear and accurate reproduction of sound.

The asymmetric cups combined with the leather-fabric hybrid earpads make for an extremely comfortable experience despite the weight. 

One of the most notable things about this pair is that they offer a very neutral and flat sound. The Susvara is a great upgrade from the more affordable 400SE in terms of design, material, and overall performance.

Because of their similar sound signature, you can expect that these cans can provide a satisfying experience for all genres of music.

While the price tag is up there, with the Susvara you get what you pay for – premium feel, comfort, style, and a premium auditory experience.

4. Final Audio D8000

Final Audio D8000
$4,199.00

The D8000 Pro Edition provides sound quality perceived to be of higher clarity when listening to Rock, Pop, and other selections that feature a narrow dynamic range.

Why We Love It:
  • New planar magnetic drivers
  • Full bass
  • Extraordinary detail
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The Final Audio D8000 has semi-open cups combined with the company’s proprietary Air Film Dampening System (AFDS) for a unique planar magnetic model. 

Key Features:

  • Maximum volume: 98 dB
  • Frequency response: 40 Hz to 30 kHz
  • Impedance: 60 ohms
  • Weight: 523 grams
  • Comes with 3.5mm and 6.3mm detachable plus
  • Semi-open back
  • Over-the-ear

Pros:

  • Uses a new planar magnetic driver
  • Offers the advantages of closed- and open-backs
  • Aluminum-magnesium alloy body

Cons:

  • The vintage sound may not be for everyone

Review

This Japanese company rapidly gained traction in the audiophile community thanks to its willingness to explore what more the portable music industry has to offer.

For the most part, Final Audio does not disappoint as it has introduced the AFDS with the help of Sony and Yamaha engineers which further lends to the vintage sound.

The AFDS also addresses issues that even conventional planar drivers cannot. This technology helps retain more bass through the controlled dampening of the diaphragm.

The semi-open back cups offer a level of airiness while retaining a bit of the lower frequencies. This also increases sound isolation. 

If you are looking for vintage NAD’s or Fostex’ with the same orthodynamic technology, then you should definitely consider the D8000’s. 

5. Oppo PM-3

Oppo PM-3 Closed-Back Headphones
$399.00

Utilizing planar magnetic drivers derived from the award-winning PM-1 headphones, the PM-3 features deep bass, smooth midrange, and clear treble. 

Why We Love It:
  • Minimal sound leak
  • Smooth mids, clear highs
  • Lightweight and portable
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08/10/2022 12:32 am GMT

The PM-3 is a great choice for planar cans with minimal sound leak because they come with closed-back cups. 

Key Features:

  • Maximum volume: 102 dB
  • Frequency response: 10 Hz to 50 kHz
  • Impedance: 26 ohms
  • Weight: 320 grams
  • Closed-back
  • Over-the-ear

Pros:

  • Reasonable priced 
  • Easy to drive
  • Lightweight and portable

Cons:

  • Synthetic leather earpads can be too warm to the skin

Review

Oppo may be known as a mobile phone brand, but it also excels in the portable audio department with its line of PM headphones.

The PM-3 is equipped with planar drivers, which the company implemented in its PM-1s.

This pair can handle a wide range of frequencies to offer tight lower ranges, smooth mids, and clear highs. 

What makes gives PM-3 an advantage is its foldable design, which increases its portability, especially when placed inside the carrying case it comes with upon purchase.

This pair offers more bass compared to its open-back competitors, making it more compatible with genres that require more lows such as hip-hop, and dance music.

6. HiFiMAN Ananda BT

HiFiMAN Ananda-BT
$799.00

A True HIFI Headphone goes Wireless: Audiophile-grade HIFIMAN ANANDA-BT comes with HD Bluetooth technology and a high-quality DAC with a powerful balanced amplifier. 

Why We Love It:
  • Audiophile-grade neutral sound
  • Seamless high-resolution Bluetooth connection
  • Built-in powerful amp
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08/10/2022 12:44 am GMT

If you are looking for a wireless model with a Bluetooth module, then the HiFiMan Ananda BT is your best bet. 

Key Features:

  • Maximum volume: 103 dB
  • Frequency response: 8 Hz to 55 kHz
  • Impedance: 35 ohms
  • Weight: 460 grams
  • Open-back
  • Over-the-ear
  • Playback time of 10 hours, charging time of 2.7 hours

Pros:

  • Ultimate portability with wireless listening
  • Signature HiFiMan design
  • Long playback time

Cons:

  • Long charging time

Review

Portable audio has never been more alive thanks to Bluetooth technology. It uses superior connection codecs such as the Qualcomm aptX and aptX HD, as well as Hi-Res Wireless Audio and LDAC.

The better news is that you can use it wired when needed as it comes with a USB-C cable that connects to a computer. 

To provide sound at listenable levels, these cans come with HiFiMAN’s customer amplifier that is compatible with different high-definition wireless codecs.

The Ananda BT is just one of HiFiMAN’s wireless offerings alongside the Deva Pro.

The difference is that the Ananda BT sports the Window Shade and asymmetrical design and uses better wireless techs compared to the Deva Pro. 

You can listen to most music genres wirelessly using this pair for 10 hours, but keep in mind that charging can take a long time at almost 3 hours. 

7. Audeze SINE

Audeze SINE
$349.00

The Audeze Sine headphones offer excellent high-end audio in a supremely comfortable and luxurious design.

Why We Love It:
  • Lightweight
  • Modern industrial design
  • Comfortable leather earpads
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08/10/2022 12:33 am GMT

The SINE is another contender from Audeze equipped with planar magnetic drivers. It offers minimal distortion with more accuracy.

Key Features:

  • Maximum volume: greater than 130 dB
  • Frequency response: 10 Hz to 50 kHz
  • Impedance: 18 ohms
  • Weight: 320 grams
  • Closed-back
  • On-ear
  • With Fazor technology

Pros:

  • Lightweight
  • Unique appearance compared to other offerings by Audeze
  • Goes pretty loud
  • Uses Fazor tech

Cons:

  • Slightly veers away from the signature Audeze sound

Review

The SINE is one of the options in this list that comes with a closed-back design. Thanks to this, it offers better passive sound isolation.

These cans are also equipped with the brand’s Fazor Wave Guidance technology, which seeks to dampen the lower frequencies a tad.

The result is a slightly different signature compared to the iconic sound offered by the brand. What makes up for this mild variation is the closed-back design that helps retain some lows.

Because of this, this pair is still a good choice for genres with more bass response demands compared to open-back rivals. 

You can use this on any regular digital audio player with 3.5mm ports. The good thing is it also comes with a lightning cable, which you can use with older iPhone models. 

8. Mr. Speakers Aeon

Mr. Speakers ÆON
$499.00

MrSpeakers' ÆON Flow headphone is a no-compromise closed-back headphone that delivers an uncompromising "open" sound.

Why We Love It:
  • Ergonomic design
  • Options for closed or open-back cups
  • Respectable bass on both
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08/10/2022 01:18 am GMT

Mr. Speakers’ Aeon is a great choice for individuals who want easy options, thanks to its open-back and closed-back variants. 

Key Features:

  • Maximum volume: 93 dB
  • Frequency response: 10 Hz to 20 kHz
  • Impedance: 13 ohms
  • Weight: 340 grams
  • Open- and closed-back variants
  • Over-the-ear

Pros:

  • Options for closed or open-back cups
  • Respectable bass on both
  • Ergonomic design

Cons:

  • Less compact compared to foldable builds

Review

The Aeon is Mr. Speakers’ effort to fill the sub-$1,000 market after it phased outs previous similarly priced models. The notable thing about Aeon is it comes in two variants: the closed-back and the open-back models.

On both types, the lows are relatively tight and clear, but as expected with planar headphones, the bass is often slightly reduced (more on the open-back model, naturally). 

Another difference between the two is that the open variant presents midrange with more body, and also offers more ‘air’ in the top end.

This slight difference can be quite recognizable when listening to music with more vocals and guitars – which predominantly occupy the 3kHz range, give or take. 

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FAQs

Do planar magnetic headphones need an amp?

Let’s be clear. All devices that play music such as your phone or your dedicated digital audio player (DAP) are equipped with an amp, else they won’t emit any sound.

You can use your planar cans without an external headphone amplifier, but this can result in almost unlistenable levels as these drivers are power-hungry.

Generally, planar magnetic headphones sound better when used with an external amp because it helps provide sufficient current and voltage levels for an optimum experience.

Are planar magnetic headphones durable?

Not all headphones are built the same, whether they are your regular dynamic cans, electrostatics ones, or planar pairs.

When it comes to build quality, many audio product manufacturers use durable materials such as hard plastics and even metals that can prolong the life of your cans.

However, you need to remember that improper use of amplifiers can result in irreversible damage to your drivers’ diaphragm, especially dynamic ones.

This is not an issue with planars as they handle power a lot better despite having thin diaphragms, so they are more durable in this regard.

How are planar magnetic headphones different from regular headphones?

There are three common types of drivers in the market namely dynamic, electrostatic, and planar magnetic drivers. Dynamic speakers are cheaper, so they are more common.

They work through moving coils and magnets, which when activated, generate an electromagnetic force, causing the voice coil to emit a sound, but only in a limited space.

Electrostatic drivers receive power and apply it to the diaphragm itself to cause movement and create sound. Planar drivers are less common but are now widely used.

They work similarly with dynamic speakers, but with one major difference: it moves a larger portion of the driver.

This is possible through bigger or more magnets than dynamic ones. 

What To Look For In Planar Headphones?

If you are looking for planar headphones, you already have one aspect of your search sorted out.

What you need to do is to look for options that offer the sound quality you prefer. Are you fond of brighter sound signatures with a wider sound stage? Or do you prefer darker sounds with more precise imaging?

These aspects can help you decide. Research and auditions are always key to finding the best cans for you, but reviews and guides will definitely work as well to help you get the sound you are looking for.

Before you go, check out our post on the 7 LOUDEST headphones available on the market today