There is a common theme I have been seeing this year with new IEMs, and that is that planar is becoming a lot more common. Planar magnetic drivers in IEMs were a sort of rarity a few years back, but just in the first half of 2022 alone, I have listened to a handful. Some of these IEMs have been some of the best I have heard recently, and are now coming to a more consumer market with budget-friendly prices. There are quite a few brands that produce these Planar IEMs, so I thought I would make a cohesive list of some of the best ones currently out there.
7 Hertz Timeless
You can blame 7 Hertz for the rise in budget planar IEMs, as their Timeless model is one of the first ones to blow up in popularity outside of the audiophile space. I was seeing the Timeless pop up on many forums and recommendation lists when it came out, and I was dying to get my hands on them. When I finally got to hear them for myself I was very pleased with its depth and clarity. For only $249, the Timeless gives you a colorful sound signature with good height and air that planars are known to deliver. If you can get past their coin-like design of the housing, then the Timeless should be your go-to planar IEM.
Muse HiFi Power Planar
This Planar IEM also gained some online traction this year, and rightfully so. Muse HiFi isn’t a well-known brand, but with this meaty sound signature, their name is sure to be on your radar. With the Power Planar, you get an IEM that boasts a hefty and magnificent bass response, showcasing depth and rumble to its textured timbre. The lows are definitely the highlight, but the spacious soundstage and crisp treble also help enhance the overall experience of this IEM. The Muse HiFi Power Planar has a great price of $199, and it is definitely worth your time.
Raptgo Hook X
I haven’t been more excited about an IEM this year than I have been about the Raptgo Hook X. A few months ago I had no idea what this brand even was, but since listening to the Hook X I have been enamored with it. Not only is this one of the best planar IEMs, but it is also the single best open-back IEM that I have heard. There have been a couple of open-air IEMs to come out, but none of them blew my mind as the Hook X did.
This is really the first open-back IEM to feel a genuine open-air planar experience, much like some of the best over-ear headphones do. It takes your traditional stereo image and expands it into a holographic space, and separates all of its layers for maximum transparency and immersion. Its details are expressive in a way that is massively addictive, you will be wanted to try all types of music with it. Did I mention it only costs $239?
Tin HiFi P1 Plus
The P1 Plus is probably the cheapest planar IEM you can find right now, and it still has a ton of value. It’s the smallest housing out of the planar IEMs, so it will be the easiest fit too. There isn’t as much bass on this guy, but the imaging is still great if you prefer a more linear response. It also has a nice full sound signature, with a wealth of midrange detail and energetic treble that has a quick transient response.
Tin HiFi P2 Plus
If the P1 is still a little too on the low-end, then Tin HiFi has a fantastic flagship option in the P2 Plus. There’s a regular silver edition and a special commemorative edition in a stylish gold finish. For about $620 you get some awesome midrange richness, with sweet sparkly highs and a clean bass timbre. Its soundstage has an airy flavor to it while also providing you with accurate imaging and holographic transparency. It is one of the best mid-fi IEMs you can buy regardless of its driver principle, but it should be noted that a dedicated DAC/Amp for this model is highly recommended. Without it, the P2 Plus might not be properly powered, and thus you will miss some of its intended details.
High-End Planar IEMs
We have talked about a lot of planar IEMs that are great on a budget, so I thought I should take the time to mention some of the higher-end models that you might want to consider. The most notable is probably the iSine series from Audeze, which is also one of the closest experiences you can have to open-back planar headphones. However, they have a weird fit style that I personally can never get used to. They also desperately require some sort of DAC/Amp to really get the most out of it.
Audeze updated their planar IEM series with the Euclid, which more resembles your traditional IEM. It goes for $1,299 but you get some great natural detail and smoothness. The AAW Nightingale is also a worthy high-end option for $999. You get a great open sound with deep bass and an overall warm timbre. It is definitely one of the darker planar IEMs that are currently available.
You can find a set of planar IEMs for yourself and at the best price from both Linsoul and Audio46.
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