Opinions on electromagnetic planar headphones

Hey guys, I'm looking for some feedback from ya'll whom are apart of the audiophile community as to what are you some of your opinions on these type of headphones. The reason I'm asking is because I was just curious and wasn't quite sure if this were something I really wanted to look into because of all the good things I hear about this subset of headphones on the market.

Be prepared to spend a lot. Planar Magnetic headphones are fairly particular to what they are driven by, specifically they like to get a lot of power.

But in terms of sound, they are some of the best, hit up Head-fi on some of the reviews written there.

Personally I want the Audeze LCD-XC, but that's just me.

True that is that bad thing about this type of headphone, but I've read/see that the entry level hifiman 400 are a great lower cost alternative to those of the 1k+ club?

A great lower cost alternative if that's the sound you are looking for. That is a purely subjective topic.

There are some Planars out there that won't break the bank and are pretty efficient.

The new HE-400S is only $300. Not out yet though.

The Oppo PM-3 is $400.

The T50RP, probably the most affordable, and you can still get while stocks last (Fostex is replacing them with a new version) for $140.

You can also get some really unique T50RP mods today that are, while a little pricey, they compete with headphones that are twice the price.

I don't think it's weird at all that a headphone can cost of upwards to $500 or more. If you're willing to spend that kind of money on a GPU to enhance your visual entertainment, why not on the sound department. My suggestion, would be to look into 2nd market like Ebay to get discounts of some the expensive headphones you're eyeing on.

My other suggestion, which is the more feasible one is, this:

Get a T50RP heaphone, and focus on improving your source (Lossless files, and a decent AMP/DAC combo). If you feel like you're ready to move into the next level. Send that T50RP headphone to ZMF which he will upgrade the heaphone into something totally different and perform well above it's price point (think of Audeze's LCD-2 and 3 headphone performance).

His mods that I think you should look into are xVibro at $500, Blackwood $700, and, soon to be released, Omni $800 (which has been compared to Audeze's LCD 3 (a very expensive headphone). So if you're ready to upgrade because you feel like you need to graduate or your budget allows, you can send that T50RP to be modded into either of those 3 models.


You could also look into MrSpeakers' T50rp mods, but he's company said they'll no longer be making it since they have gone fully independent with their ETHER being their first completely in-house developed headphone. So check them out while their stocks last. Mad Dog, Mad Dog Pro, and Alpha Dog are all planars that should be in your price range. I got the Alpha Prime while it was still $1000, but right now it's just $800. I have no regrets, this headphone is really just a beast of its own and it really deserves that premium $1k. The custom diaphragm, 3d printed housing, and the balanced 4pin XLR with my HiFi-M8 as a source literally gives me eargasms.

Oohhh thanks for the heads up on the Hifiman he400s! I think Ill wait until these come out because I'm sure they'll sound great and I love the aesthetic of these over the current he400.

The technology is still mostly a case by case basis for the most part. They all sound different. Only real theme is that they are expensive, hard to drive (requires a powerful amp), and are capable of being really great sounding. Read up on whatever particular headphones interest you.

Well it is not that simple. You gotta pick a headphone.

Planar headphones range wildly in terms of sound quality.

It is not like electrostatic headphones that have a VERY unique sound.

I have heard the prototype.

Honestly the new hifi-man headphones pail in comparison to the old ones.

I have heard everything hifiman has had to offer including the HE-1000s.

Here is how this goes. The HE-4 is ok. The HE-400 sucks.

For a little bit more the HE-500 is sweet spot. It is really lush and creamy sounding.

beyond that is the LCD-2. Used ones can be found for 700 maybe 650 if you are lucky.

If you are on a budget, then get the fostex t50-rp and then when you have the money, you can send them off to mr. speakers.

The alpha dogs sound a LOT better than the xcs.

Up from there is the LCD3.

With any of these headphones, CHANGE THE CABLE!!!!!!!!!

You do not need fancy audiophile cable, but use something better than what these people give you.

Mr. Speakers headphones are ok. But hifiman and audeze really shafts you on cable quality.

From what it sounds like, maybe I'll stick to the original plan and possibly get the Sennheiser HD 650/600 (does anyone have any experience with these pair of phones?)

Yes. They are both absolutely fantastic headphones.

The HD600s are going to sound a bit more true to life where as the HD650s are a bit more bass heavy.

They are probably the best headphone you can get for starting out. The next upgrade would probably be the LCD2.