Boxy, open-back studio monitors built for long-haul listening comfort
New York-based audio gear maker Avantone Pro has released a pair of heavy-looking reference-grade headphones for musicians, engineers, podcasters and audiophiles on a budget. But the Planar over-ears have been designed for long session comfort and, as the name suggests, feature planar magnetic driver technology for the promise of "amazing accuracy, high-end detail, clarity, natural bass and response time."
Planar drivers sit somewhere between dynamic and electrostatic technology, where a super-thin, electrostatic-style flexible diaphragm is set between an array of evenly-spaced Neodymium magnets. Avantone says that since the magnets apply equal forces front and rear, the resulting sound is more natural than would be delivered using moving coil drivers, with low distortion and fast response times.
The open backs create a flat frequency curve over a wide 30 Hz to 30 kHz range, with total harmonic distortion of less than 0.1 percent at 100 dB, 104-dB sensitivity and 32-ohm impedance. All without the kind of pressure build up or acoustic resonance you might get from closed back models.
All in, this should result in less listening fatigue and, though the headphones look big and bulky, Avantone says that "sessions that last for hours will only feel like minutes" thanks to big soft ear cushions and a lightweight design – though they do tip the scales at exactly a pound (0.48 kg).
The Planar headphones are available now in red or black, and come supplied with an eco-friendly shoulder bag, a long audio cable and a jack adapter for US$399.
Product page: Avantone Pro Planar headphones