Headphones tech: Dynamic VS Planar Magnetic Drivers

Headphones tech: Dynamic VS Planar Magnetic Drivers

Looking for your next high-quality headphones? As all audiophiles and sound masters may know to choose a great pair of headphones takes a lot of patience and research. With so many companies taking over the market, how do you determine which is the best for you?

Well, the bright lining to the cloud is that to help you pick out your next pair, we decided to pit Dynamic vs Planar Magnetic Headphones! Why? Because knowing what to expect from each can increase your chances of picking out a killer set.

But first, let' s learn the science behind it!

How Do Traditional Dynamic Drivers Work?

Dynamic drivers are one of the most standard drivers used in the headphones. You can mostly find them in all types of headphones, whether they are high end or cheap. We think they' re mostly popular due to their simple design and operation!

The main components of a Dynamic Driver are:

  1. Neodymium electromagnet
  2. Voice Coil
  3. Diaphragm

Most traditional Dynamic Drivers work with an electromagnet with a coil attached to the diaphragm. The main concept is based on Faraday' s law of electromagnetic induction, where when an electric current passes through a wire, it induces an electric field around the coil. You might remember it from 8th grade!

Dynamic drivers

In the case of dynamic drivers, the coil of wire is extremely thin. The electric current signal from your device passes through this coil which sets up a magnetic field around the wire. The magnetic field of this wire reacts with the magnetic field of the electromagnet 

This results in a to-and-fro movement of the coil which is attached to the diaphragm. The diaphragm, in turn, vibrates. The vibration creates a compression and decompression of the airwaves which produces sound.

The Dynamic drivers are also called moving coil drivers as the coil is forced to move. You might be confused at how this makes different sounds. Well, to lay it down in simpler terms, the harder the diaphragm vibrates, the larger the air displacement and so the greater will be the volume 

This is exactly why dynamic drivers have such a strong bass response as they can effectively displace air. Examples can be found in many Sony Dynamic headphones which have a better bass response.

How Do Planar Magnetic Drivers Work?

Planar Magnetic Drivers are slowly phasing the Dynamic drivers out! Why? you might ask. Simply because they create more immersive sounds that are of crisp and clear quality. Although they are much less common than their dynamic counterparts, you can still find some big-name companies such as Audeze and Oppo who sellsome of the best Planar Magnetic Headphones.

Planar magnetic drivers

Most planar drivers have two magnets instead of one and do not rely on a moving voice coil to create vibrations. Instead, in planar drivers, a large, thin, flat film is spread over the driver and acts as the charged part of the driver.

These magnets are placed on either side of the diaphragm. The wire, in this case, is spread across the surface of the diaphragm. Then when the electrical impulses are passed through these wires, they induce a magnetic field which then interacts with the magnetic field of the magnets already present.

This causes the coil to vibrate which transfers these vibrations to the diaphragm. The diaphragm then produces sound by constant compression and decompression. Since the wire is spread across a larger surface, more than one magnet is needed to interact with its magnetic field. Due to a large number of magnets, planar magnetic headphones tend to be much larger and heavier.

Planar drivers are called ‘planar' as their induced magnetic field is parallel to the surface of the diaphragm.

Dynamic Headphones vs Planar Magnetic headphones

You might wonder, “What exactly the difference in their performance is?” Of course, they all operate on the same basic principle, but we doubt you care about that! What should really matter to you is which one performs better and would suit your need better.

Here are the advantages and disadvantages of both the types:

Benefits and Disadvantages of Dynamic Headphones


 ✔ Less power

Since the mechanism of dynamic headphones is simple, they do not require too much power. They only need to power a single coil of wire. So, you don' t have to worry about your phone battery dying instantly.

 ✔ Less ExpensiveDynamic driver headphones

This is one of the most obvious reasons you might have to buy dynamic headphones. Since they require a single magnet, they are not as expensive as other systems. They're essentially just a single magnet and a coil attached to athin piece of plastic.

However, you might find some models that are more high-end, and thus more expensive. So, it depends on the manufacturer what they choose to charge you for!

 ✔ Durable

Dynamic headphones tend to be much more durable than others. This is because the voice coil makes it harder for the driver to move. You will find they tend to last you ages.

 ✔ Strong Bass

Master Dynamic Headphones are revered for the strong and high quality of bass they can produce. This is because they depend on the extent of vibrations for the volume of the sound. This eventually leads to better bass quality.

You might find that the cheaper versions tend to be much more bass heavy. The costly ones, on the other hand, are much more well-balanced. So, it depends on your preferences and your budget.


  Audio Distortion

The number one complaint you might find about the master and dynamic headphones is that they often produce high levels of audio distortion. This is generally at higher volumes. This is because the diaphragm is being constantly pushed and pulled by the coil' s magnetic field.

This causes the shape of the diaphragm to distort over time. This is one of the reasons you might notice your headphones getting ‘crackly' over the period of time. It is also termed as Non-linear distortion.

 ✖ Poorer sound quality

We do not mean that the dynamic drivers produce poor sound quality. They actually produce decent sound quality. However, we mean to compare the sound quality of this driver with the planar one.

Planar headphones produce much better sound quality since their coil is spread all over the diaphragm.

Benefits and Disadvantages of Planar Magnetic Headphones


 ✔ Low Sound Distortion

The main advantage the planar magnetic headphones have over the dynamic ones is that they do not produce sound distortion. This is because the wire covers the entire diaphragm, causing the force to be evenly spread throughout the surface of the diaphragm. 

The magnetic force thus delivers high acceleration to reproduce better sound without causing any sort of distortion.

 ✔ Better Response

Since the magnetic field exerts a force on the entire surface of the diaphragm, the diaphragm moves much faster. This causes the bass response of the diaphragm to accurately match the input signals.planar magnetic headphones

It reacts much quicker to any changes in the input signal and thus results in a better bass response. So, if you' re more of a critical listener, then we recommend planar headphones!

 ✔ Better Sound Quality

In our opinion, the sound quality of the planar magnetic headphones is much more lifelike. This is because of the true transient response it produces. It can replicate the exact real-life bass response. You might find the sound quality to be much more accurate and clear.

 ✔ Durability

This is an important aspect to look for inexpensive headphones. These planar magnetic headphones tend to be very durable as well because the windings are laid flat across the diaphragm, resulting in better heat dissipation.

In addition to this, they have fewer moving parts which could break or deform.

 ✔ Amplifier Compatible

You can even use these with amplifiers as these drivers present pure resistive loads.


 ✖ Heavyweight and Bulky

You might find that these exquisite set of headphones are often much heavier and bulkier than their dynamic counterparts. This is because there are multiple magnets involved which can result in an increased size and weight.

 ✖ Costly

The best Planar headphones are often much more expensive than the dynamic ones due to the complexity of the design. It is much harder to design them. Moreover, they contain more parts and more magnets which results in hiked prices.

 ✖ Consume More power

Since they need to power an entire large surface of the circuit, they require much more power. You will often find them draining your battery in seconds.

 ✖ Not a lot of variety

Since they are complex and complicated to design, most manufacturers stay away from these headphones. They prefer the dynamic ones as they are more popular anyways. So, you will not find a morehigh-quality variety with these.


So, there you have it! It is quite obvious there can be no winner in the Dynamic vs Planar Magnetic Headphones debate. Each has its own drawbacks and benefits. If you' re up for something simpler that saves you a bit of money, go for the dynamic driver headphones.

However, if you require a crisp, clear sound quality and don' t mind investing a bit more money, then go for the Magnetic Planar headphones.

So, what will be your choice? Easy and cheap? Or expensive and high quality?


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