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Understanding In-Ear Headphones



Understanding your headphones

Headphones have grown in more ways than one in recent years.

With bigger and more expensive, illustrious styles becoming more mainstream, manufacturers are jumping at the chance to get their name out there. For our full range of headphones, click here.


'There's more than one way to skin a cat'

With such a huge range, how does one brand stand out in a sea of competition?
Some invest in branding, some in celebrity endorsements. Luckily some are focused on the tougher job of making the best sounding headphones. But how can you improve on designs that have been conceptually the same for the last 100 years? You change it!
Dynamic drivers are by far the most common, most efficient and most affordable way of getting your music directly to your ears. 90+% of our headphones use this method and an easy 99% of our speakers are the same.

Grado's excellent GR10

The concept is you have a magnet, a piece of metal (Voice Coil) and a diaphragm. Applying an alternating current to the voice coil makes the diaphragm vibrate and voila, you have sound. By tweaking materials and design parameters you can get varying degrees of performance, and of course price.

'...By tweaking materials and design parameters you can get varying degrees of performance, and price'


Enjoying the Oppo PM-1's...

Planar magnetic designs are similar in the fact that they use a diaphragm, a voice coil and a magnet however in a completely different way. They incorporate a very thin, inert film with a special weave of a magnetic filament that runs throughout the diaphragm.


The magnet is situated on the circumference of the film and controls the entire plane with very linear motion. This presents a very accurate and fast response but is usually more power hungry. Our Oppo PM-1s and PM-2s operate using this technology, so feel free to come in and hear what all the fuss is about!


Electrostatic are a similar principle but use an electrically charged film which is excited by two metal plates, when the audio signal is applied to them. This results in a very linear frequency response well above what the human ear can pick up. Albeit, to get good bass performance, large diaphragms are needed and the technology is expensive. They also operate at a low current, high voltage method so usually a dedicated amplifier is needed for them.


 Balanced Armatures are almost a revived technology, invented in the 1920's


They are highly efficient and work on a similar principle to that of the regular dynamic driver. Essentially a pivoting arm is balanced between two magnets and applying an electrical audio signal, makes the arm move.


Inner Workings of Audiofly AF160's

Generally a headphone will utilise two or more of these drivers with a crossover network. I recently got to have a listen to Audiofly's offering which incorporate up to 4 balanced armature drivers in their IEMs, delivering fantastic punch and control with a surprising amount of imaging for an In Ear as well as fantastic separation. I was impressed enough for them to knock my Yamaha EPH-100s into an early retirement!

Enter the Audiofly...

Audiofly is a relatively new brand for us. Hailing from across the ditch, they offer a wide and collaborative range of specialised in ear headphones that are designed for anyone, from the discerning musician to the average Joe Bloggs who just wants decent sound in a robust package.

With Comply tips, Cordura reinforced cabling and Balanced Armature drivers in the 1xx series, it's very hard to go wrong.
- William -
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