Andover Unveils its First Planar-Magnetic Headphones

Massachusetts-based Andover Audio has introduced over-ear planar-magnetic headphones that can be driven by any audio source, including smartphones and portable music players.

Priced at $500, the PM-50 headphones sport an elegant look thanks to the use of walnut hardwood accents and produce sound via 1.9-inch planar-magnetic diaphragms housed in open-back earcups, a design chosen for “transparency and spatiality that is uncommon in conventional headphones,” according to Andover.

Unlike dynamic headphones, whose conical drivers are susceptible to break up when they flex, Andover says the PM-50s distribute sound across the planar membrane’s entire surface, producing sound that’s “natural, detailed, and accurate” as well as easy on the ears during extended listening.

Andover has equipped headphones with a removable cable and a continuously adjustable headband designed to provide all-day listening comfort. Two sets of ear cushions are provided — one thick and one thin — which affect the sound in different ways. The thicker earpads produce a “more relaxed and open sound,” while the thinner cushions deliver “more immediacy and impact.” A third, looser fitting set of earpads will be available this summer.

The headphones are rated down to 15 Hz with a rated impedance of 32 ohms; sensitivity is spec’d at 102 dB/1mW.

Led by former Cambridge SoundWorks executive Rob Mainiero, Andover Audio was formed in 2012 by a group of Boston-area audio veterans to provide design and manufacturing services to the audio industry but now makes products under its own name.

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