Planar magnetic headphones are probably the best headphones for audiophiles. If you are not familiar with the term, do not worry, as planar magnetic headphones are indeed very much less common than dynamic headphones. These headphones work in almost the same way as the dynamics. They use the interaction of two magnetic fields to generate motion. But, instead of manipulating the voice coil and taking the diaphragm out and in from the ring in the driver, the charged part is spread across the thin and flat film driver. Therefore, planar magnetic headphones need larger magnets than dynamic headphones, and that is why they are generally bigger and heavier. However, the output quality is very impressive. The currently most important manufacturers of this type of headphones are Oppo and Hifiman. Oppo has recently released their third planar magnetic model, the PM3, following the previous success of PM1 and PM2. Hifiman has the HE400I on par.


Oppo PM3 differs slightly from its predecessors. It is now a closed-back design, which is beneficial in reducing noise from the outside and limiting audio output leakage. What is more, despite being a typically heavy planar magnetic headphone, Oppo PM3 is surprisingly pretty lightweight, thanks to the nice combination of 7-layer diaphragm and powerful Neodymium magnets. Also, it is the first portable closed-back planar magnetic headphone available on the market. The design is smooth and very comfortable with elegant appearance.

The Hifiman HE400I is a full-size, over-the-ear, open-back planar magnetic headphone. While the closed-back provides a decent isolation so that the user may concentrate on what they hear, the open-back design delivers more lively performance. It gives something like “a band in a concert hall” instead of “a band playing in your head”. But, it leaks some sounds to the outside world and allows ambient noise to slip into your ears. Even though the manufacturer stated that the product is 30% lighter than most planar magnetic headphones, Hifiman HE400I still weighs slightly more than Oppo PM3. The product’s sound signature is its great midrange performance.


BrandHiFiManOppo Digital
Key Features- Extremely comfortable oversized design - Delivers a balanced 93dB of sound - Ortho dynamic (aka planar magnetic) drivers- Closed-back design for privacy and noise isolation - High sensitivity, light weight and comfortable fit - Elegant styling and exquisite workmanship - Bonus: 1.2 meter portable cable for iPhone with mic & controls included

Ratings4.7 out of 5.0 stars5.0 out of 5.0 stars
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The main thing to think about when choosing between Hifiman HE400I and Oppo PM3 is whether you prefer an open-back or closed-back, as the design is what ultimately differs the two products. If you are okay with both styles, then it is probably better to choose Oppo PM3 since it is cheaper, yet lighter and more portable.

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