"Audeze, based out of Orange County, is an audio company with a very particular focus. Not concerned with speakers or amps or earbuds, it instead focus on a headphones, and ones of a very specific kind. It’s cans use planar magnetic drivers (as opposed to conventional dynamic drivers), in order to achieve a greater range of sound than other approaches can match. The result? “Extremely low levels of distortion and very high-fidelity over the entire frequency range,” according to Sankar Thiagasamudram, the co-founder & CEO. “It’s a very clean-sounding headphone.”
"The difference, however, is in how much movement happens. “It’s not just driving the soil and large coil, it’s driving across the entire surface of the diaphragm,” said Thiagasamudram. Because the film has a larger surface area, planar magnetic drivers require two larger magnets (instead of just one small one) on either side of the diaphragm."
“The advantage of planar magnetic [headphones] is that you plug it into almost anything,” explains Thiagasamudram. “You can plug it into a traditional headphone jack and you don’t have to have a special amplifier.” With electrostatic headphones, you need a special high-voltage amplifier, which in addition to adding a (substantial) extra cost, it also means electrostatic headphones aren’t portable."
"You’d be forgiven for thinking that planar tech is new, but the very opposite is true. Headphones that operate on the principle have been around in some form since the 1920s. But Audeze’s triumph isn’t inventing the form, but rather perfecting it. It has turned to modern manufacturing techniques so that it can cast and make its own films. “Instead of chemical etching we used lasers, for example,” explained Thiagasamudram. This has enabled Audeze to make its films extremely small, thin and durable. This is important because the thinner the film, the faster the diaphragm moves, creating a cleaner sound. Audeze also developed its own variety of magnets specifically for this usecase."
"As far as how Audeze’s new LCD-1 and Mobius headphones, Thiagasamudram says that there’s a lot of trickle-down from their higher-end headphones. It uses similar types of film and the same types of magnets. They’re not going to sound quite as good as its really high-end headphones, of course, as a lot comes down to the thickness of the film. Thinner films are better because they move the diaphragm faster, but they’re also more difficult and expensive to make. But if you appreciate good sound, the LCD-1 promise to be a noticeable upgrade from the standard pair of over-ears you’ve been listening to for the past few years."