Best IEMs With Planar Magnetic Drivers Under $200
It used to be that headphones and IEMs with planar magnetic drivers were restricted to listeners ready to make a heavy investment. With their fast response and unmistakably crisp highs, they’re commonly sought after by audiophiles or anyone simply looking for a clean, transparent sound. As of this year, it seems like the floodgates have opened on affordable in-ear monitors that feature such drivers. Let’s go over some of the ones that get you the most for what you pay.
KZ – PR1 HiFi ($66)
The KZ – PR1 HiFi is shockingly affordable considering its technical design. Besides its open-back design, it features a 13.2mm planar magnetic driver, a silver-plated diaphragm, and a double-sided magnet in its circuitry that improves transient response. Though lacking in accessories, the KZ – PR1 has a way of looking – and sounding – much more expensive than it actually is with its flashy and intriguing housing. Its sound characteristics feature heavy lows, reserved mids, and airy highs. Ideal for this signature are pop, electronic, rap, and dance genres.
Tangzu Ze Tian Wu ($149)
The Tangzu Ze Tian Wu features a 14.5mm planar magnetic driver and a low impedance of 16 ohms, allowing it to be driven by anything from a phone to a DAC. It also offers unique stylish flare with its metallic purple housing that features flower-like engravings. Its sound signature focuses on the bookends of the frequency spectrum – big lows and spacious highs like the KZ – PR1, but with better imaging and a somewhat more complete and clearly stated mids profile. Ideal for this sound signature includes pop, electronic, rap, and dance genres. P.S.: It is the first headphone I’ve come across to include a free drink coaster. Awesome.
Available here at Audio46.
Letshuoer S12 Pro ($149)
This IEM features a 14.8mm planar magnetic driver with a large diaphragm that helps deliver a powerful bass response. I find the aesthetic design on these to be modern and vaguely Scandinavian with its metallic, solid blue color scheme and futuristic silver cable. These pack a surprising thick and driving sound for a planar unit, with a punchy low end, powerful mids and reserved-yet-realistic highs. They’re particularly versatile, and I would recommend them for a pretty wide array of genres, from rap to rock to soft pop to heavy metal.
Muse HiFi POWER ($199)
Finally, the Muse HiFi Power IEM contains a 14.5mm planar driver and acoustic chambers specially designed to minimize distortion and enhance clarity. It comes with a well insulated and sturdy, black cable that compliments the dark, gem-stone like design on the back of the IEM housing. It also comes with an impressively diverse array of 12 eartips that let you find your exact preferred fit. The benefits of the planar drivers come through not only in the crisp and airy highs, but also in its exceptionally wide and fluid imaging. Emphasizing the highs and lows in a similar manner to the Ze Tian Wu and PR1, it is likely the best iteration of this EQ mentioned in this list and qualifies as a highly versatile IEM that suits most genres.
Available here at Audio46. Open box version available for $169 here.