What’s in the Box?
The box is pretty standard here, I’d say a medium size with a photo cover and nice black and red color scheme.
Inside here is a very nice looking simple black box that flips open to reveal your headphones in a foam insert. Underneath that you have your accessories. There are two cables included, one dual sided 3.5mm cable, as well as another 3.5mm single sided aux cable with detachable quarter inch adapter.
Very interestingly here, there is no hardshell case or even soft carrying pouch, instead Avantone includes what looks basically like a tote bag here in the bottom of the box. It has velcro and a button to seal shut and there's a zipper compartment for carrying the cables or any other extras you have.
I honestly don’t hate it. It’s certainly a weird choice and not very practical but it’s eco friendly and I enjoy how novel it is.
Design and Fit
As far as the design, it seems to me that these are trying to set themselves above the rest of the pack a bit here with their aesthetic choices. This rounded type rectangular shape is not very usual for Planar Magnetic Headphones, and in fact, to me is reminiscent of the Stax L700, which gives these a bit more of a higher end association.
The construction is also fairly light without feeling flimsy. The frame around the headband and the yokes are thin, but they’re made of metal, and feel pliable without being brittle.
The headband also a kind of one size fits all adjustment mechanic, where it will automatically extend when you put it on your head. I found this to work quite well, it stayed in place, and there was no sliding around.
The grill on the ear cups has a beehive, honeycomb looking pattern design on it which I love, and think also looks very unique. The only plastic you’ll see is on the side of the ear cup here, but the grill is fully metal as well.
Since these are planars and mostly metal, these are not the lightest headphones you’ll wear. These weigh about a pound, and even though they are pretty comfortable overall, especially with the light cushioning on the earpads, these are going to be a tad taxing due to the weight. They are also very big and protrude a lot, so just a thing to keep in mind depending on your style.
Feel free to watch our video review as well.
Key Features (Planars)
The biggest feature of this headphone obviously is that 21 Micron PET planar magnetic driver on each side, which itself tells you everything you need to know about the aims for this unit. These seek to provide reference style, studio quality sound with a focus on accuracy, detail and clarity.
This is obviously a huge advantage of using planar magnetic drivers. For those who don’t know, contrary to a traditional dynamic headphone driver, these use opposing sets of oppositely aligned magnets to keep that PET diaphragm in place, and when it receives signal, the diaphragm’s magnetic field will react with the other magnets in the housing and move around.
Due to the high precision of the magnetic field produce by the magnets, the force applied to that diaphragm is really even, so the sound is going to be super transparent with extremely low distortion, and there will be way less fatigue on the ear than with a traditional dynamic driver
This is some pretty nice sophisticated technology to be getting with a unit at this price.
Impedance and Frequency Range
These I have low impedance of just 32 ohms so you of course can just plug and play right into your devices and it will sound ok, but to really get the most of these you of course are going to want an amp - especially if you’re using these for more recreational than analytical listening and you want to give some areas a boost.
These output a frequency range of 30hz to 30khz.
When dealing with a planar, one of the areas you expect to perform excellently is the soundstage, and I can say that these do deliver on this front.
The image here is very clear and accurate and the separation between different parts and instruments was present to a degree that suited my expectations with this kind of product at this price point. Headroom especially feels really big here and these avoid feeling compact at all regardless of what you are listening to.
For studio purposes, these are extremely ideal for any kinds of sensitive mixing due to the great depth and range of the stereo field.
This continues naturally onto the sound quality, starting with the fairly flat, natural bass which would be quite ideal for monitoring. It’s not weak or necessarily rolled off, but very neutral leaning toward understated. If you want to use these for more casual or recreational listening, you may want to throw some eq on them to give them the color you prefer.
This headphone will meet the level of the material you pump in, so to speak. Songs with more bass will reveal more extension, especially when giving eq a boost. Just playing with the rudimentary eq on my samsung music app and listening pairing with the ifi nano, I found that these revealed a lot more character and low end depth without sacrificing anything higher up the frequency spectrum.
Speaking of which, the mids carry on the neutral theme and are extremely clear and accurate all the way around. The resolution is exceptional - it provides all the detail you want without any coloration, and a great tilt toward the front.
Unsurprising for a planar, the treble is the real highlight. These frequencies easily have the most colorization and a great shimmery quality. Headroom really opens up in this range, and extension seems endless across a wide range of sonic textures. Elements like reverb decays and overtones are very present, there’s no feeling of roll off, everything is very up front and spacious.
For a planar that’s coming in at way under 1000 dollars, this Avantone model has all you could ask for and more. If you like the metal build, unique design, big soundstage, and reference quality, there’s not much reason to not at least give these a serious look.
You can order Avantone Pro Planar Headphones at Audio46.