Andover Audio PM-50 planar magnetic headphone review: Audiophile sound, tolerable price tag

    Andover Audio’s PM-50 headphone is likely one of the few however rising variety of headphone fashions constructed round extremely high-resolution planar magnetic drivers (50mm, on this case). This $500 over-the-ear, open-backed mannequin does a high quality job of distracting and diverting the listener—not less than for some time—from the isolation and tedium that comes with enforced social distancing.

    New and favourite music and films appear vividly alive, current, and extra in your face with these entertainers balancing in your head. The PM-50 have a readability, airiness, and spatial positioning ability set so exact and three-dimensional I can shut my eyes and really feel like I’m within the recording studio, membership, or live performance corridor with the performers.

    This overview is a part of TechHive’s protection of the best headphones, the place you’ll discover opinions of competing merchandise, plus a purchaser’s information to the options you need to take into account when purchasing.

    Planar magnetic defined

    Planar magnetic headphones (and their shut relation, electrostatic headphones) have been round for greater than 4 a long time, courting fastidious, deep-pocketed audiophiles. The secret of their success are thin-film planar magnetic flat drivers—membranes interwoven with electrically lively wires. These are pushed/pulled at very shut vary by evenly spaced magnets to maneuver air and thus make the sound waves detected by our ears.

    As this driving drive is evenly distributed throughout all the floor of the diaphragm, it’s each faster reacting and fewer vulnerable to distortion than the extra typical cone-shaped headphone drivers, that are rocked backwards and forwards from the slim finish of the cone by a single donut-shaped magnet and voice coil.

    Jonathan Takiff / IDG

    Wondering what a planar magnetic driver appears to be like like? Here’s a peek.

    Most listeners and mainstream headphone makers have by no means brushed ears with planar magnetic music makers as a result of this stuff are simply too darn advanced and (till not too long ago) too costly to construct. Andover Audio’s Boston-designed, made-in-China PM-50 are hardly an impulse purchase at $500, however their specs are spectacular: Frequency response vary of 15Hz – 50kHz, and driver sensitivity of 102dB/1mW. Their 32-Ohm impedance ranking means you need to be capable of pair them with nearly any audio supply, together with a smartphone or moveable digital audio participant. They performed good and loud for me even when plugged right into a Roku distant management’s headphone jack.

    Pretty, however fatiguing to put on

    The PM-50 additionally look the a part of dear telephones, too. The earpieces are decked out in real walnut hardwood enclosures that slide up and down a critically grippy, padded steel headband. The package consists of two units of swappable pleather-wrapped earpads. There’s a thinner set providing a extra detailed, ahead sound (my choice), and a thicker set that lends a bit extra bass heat and detachment from the music.

    A 3rd “loose fit” earpad possibility, due out within the fall, will provide a bigger circumference pad and ear opening “to accommodate a small amount of users who may want a roomier fit,” an Andover Audio spokesperson stated. That would come with me, summing up my most vital criticism about these puppies. For higher (at first) after which worse, this stuff actually grip laborious, with the highest of the pads catching (moderately than surrounding) the highest of my average-sized ears.

    Adding insult to harm, that springy steel headband presses the arms of my eyeglasses into my temples. All’s high quality sufficient for about two hours of listening, however then stuff begins to harm, and I want a trip. I hope that third set of pop-on earpads resolves the issue.

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