Home Resources What is a Planar Magnetic Driver?

What is a Planar Magnetic Driver?

by Stuart Charles Black
>AFFILIATE DISCLOSURE: As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. As an eBay affiliate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Don't forget to share if you found it helpful!

This is part 5 in a series on Headphones and Their Drivers. Don’t hesitate to share and comment if you found these helpful!

  1. What is Headphone Impedance?
  2. What is Sensitivity in Headphones?
  3. What is Output Impedance?
  4. What is a Headphone Driver?
  5. What is a Planar Magnetic Driver? (You are here)

Hey there friend, and Welcome aboard!!

What is a Planar Magnetic Driver? Before we get into all the juicy details, grab a snack, sit back, and relax because…

You’ve come to the right place!!

What I will bring you in this article

  1. Introduction
  2. What is a Headphone Driver? (Dynamic Variety)
  3. What is a Planar Magnetic Driver? (Planar Variety)
  4. The Anatomy of a Planar Magnetic Driver
  5. Some Great Planar Headphones
  6. Some Great Dynamic Headphones
  7. Final Word


Back in the day, I had no clue what a driver was.

I remember buying headphones from CVS pharmacy thinking that was as good as it got.

It’s strange to think back on those times.

My first pair of pretty decent headphones came in the form of the Sony MDR-V150, which is perhaps Sony’s most important budget offering.

It’s actually still relevant today, and one of the only good pairs that a drugstore like that ever sold.

I went through countless pairs of these because I liked the sound so much.

The headband was infamous for snapping under pressure like Henry Hill from Goodfellas though. Lol.

The pads also flaked out, but that’s pretty standard even for a headphone like the 7506 or V6.

Aside from those two issues, I really love Sony headphones in general, especially the V6.

It’s a product that has stood the test of time for over 3 decades, and I don’t think it’s going anywhere.

But I digress…

Before we even discuss what a Planar Magnetic driver is, we’ll have to first discuss the Headphone Driver itself and why it’s important.

What is a Headphone Driver?

and what does it do?

What is a Headphone driver?

What is a Headphone driver?

First, we’ll look at what a Dynamic Driver is…

A headphone driver is a conduit that allows your ears to hear music.

It’s responsible for converting an electrical signal into an acoustic signal (sound).

It does this by creating current with a conductor through a magnetic field that moves a diaphragm which creates that sound.

It’s basically like a tiny loudspeaker inside of the ear cups.

It is made up of:

  • Voice Coils
  • A Magnet.
  • A Diaphragm.

To put it even more simply:

  1. The Magnet creates a magnetic field.
  2. The Voice Coil also creates a magnetic field.
  3. Both of these interact to create the movement of the Voice Coil up and down.
  4. This in turn moves the Diaphragm linearly, creating sound waves for your ears.

Now that we know what a headphone driver actually does…

What is a Planar Magnetic Driver?

and how does it differ?

With a Planar Magnetic Driver, the process is the same except for a few things:

More Magnets

There are more magnets placed around the diaphragm, and they are placed evenly. In a Dynamic headphone (from above), there is only one Magnet employed.

This allows the sound to enter your ears more naturally.


A Planar Magnetic headphone really does sound more realistic, giving you more of that theater-like presentation and better Soundstage.

In some instances, it kind of feels like you’re there in front of the band!

Lower Distortion/Bass Response

There’s much lower distortion at higher volumes, and in fact, it’s basically non-existent (you likely will never be able to tell or hear any).

I can also attest to this, as the LCD line from Audeze has this buttery smooth quality to it.

The LCD-X in particular really impressed me with regard to bass response.

It’s a flat line, and so good that it almost dances.

There are a natural rumble and smoothness to the low end that will leave you smiling from ear to ear.

The detail and intricacy of the bass are truly astounding when paired with a proper amp like the Bryston or NAIM DAC V-1.

More Powerful Diaphragm

Planar Magnetic headphones have a larger and more powerful diaphragm.

This allows air to move with more authority, resulting in that more powerful bass response that we just touched on.

They are also a bit easier to drive from an Amp.

Check out Tyll’s Anatomy of a Planar Magnetic Headphone Driver!

With that, let’s take a look at some of my favorite planar headphones…

Some Great Planar Magnetic Headphones

Are Audeze Headphones Worth It?Here’s a comprehensive guide on HIFIMAN’s 400 series lineup:

As a step up, the Ananda/Edition X series is also fantastic:

Can’t forget the Audeze lineup:

Some Great Dynamic Headphones

If you’re looking for some great dynamic headphones, the AKG and Sennheiser lines are fantastic.

Final Word

I tried to simplify the question of What is a Planar Magnetic Driver? the best that I could. Why?

Because I know when I research something, I want the most concise answer that makes sense to me.

A lot of websites get overly complex about it when it doesn’t need to be.

That said, I hope I’ve shed some light on the topic!

Well, that’s about it for today my friend! I hope you’ve gotten some valuable information today…

Hey Marvin, what do you make of all this? Be sure to let me know!!

If you have any other questions or feel I’ve missed the mark on something, leave a comment down below or contact me!

I very much look forward to speaking with you…

All the best and God bless,





Can’t decide which headphones to purchase? Interested in a complete buyers guide outlining over 40 of the best options on the market? Click on over to the best audiophile headphones to learn more!!

Be sure to also check out my Reviews and Resources page for more helpful and informative articles!

Don't forget to share if you found it helpful!

You may also like

Leave a Comment