Headphones

At first glance, “different” over-ear headphones may not seem all that different. They fit over your ears and let you listen to music. However, there are actually some pretty significant changes between brands and types of headphones. In my experience, I’ve noticed the biggest difference between two types of headphones: dynamic and planar magnetic. Let’s start with the most common type of headphones: dynamic driver headphones. Dynamic drivers work by sending a signal through a coil of ultra-thin wire. This creates a magnetic field that reacts with a magnet it’s set into. When this happens, the coil moves back and forth rapidly, which moves the speaker diaphragm that it’s attached to. Any headphone you buy will create sound in this way. Beats, Bose, Skullcandy, and Audiotechnica are some common types of dynamic headphones. In contrast, planar magnetic headphones are much less common and are made mostly by only three companies: Oppo, HiFiMAN, and Audeze. These headphones also use magnets, but instead of moving a voice coil which moves the diaphragm, there are two magnets on either side of a film, which move the film back and forth. This causes the force to be spread across the diaphragm instead of being focused in one place, and a much clearer and crisper sound. The sound difference is night and day between dynamic and planar magnetic headphones.