What Kind Of Magnets Are Used In Headphone?

High-quality dynamic headphones nearly all utilize rare earth Neodymium magnets.

Neodymium magnets are the strongest kind of permanent magnet available. They were invented in the 1980s and have since become standard in high-quality audio transducers (speakers, microphones and, of course, headphones).

Neodymium magnets are made from an alloy called NIB which combines neodymium, iron and boron. They produce very strong magnetic fields and weigh considerably less than other magnets.

To further improve upon their performance, Neodymium magnets are coated with nickel or resilient plastic to improve durability and resistance to corrosion or rust.

Of course, not all headphones have top-of-the-line Neodymium magnets. Other headphone magnet materials that also perform well include:

Ceramic
Ferrite
Samarium Cobalt
Aluminum

Do All Headphones Need Magnets?

So far we’ve discussed moving-coil dynamic headphones in great detail and have touched on planar magnetic and balanced armature headphone drivers. All three of these types require magnets.

However, not all headphone transducers need magnets to function. Electrostatic headphones function on electrostatic principles rather than electromagnetic induction and do not include magnets in their design.

Rather than utilizing magnets, the electrostatic headphone driver has a positively biased (fixed charged) diaphragm that is sandwiched between two perforated metal stators, separated by spars. Note the biasing voltage required of the diaphragm makes electrostatic headphones active, meaning they require power to function properly.

The audio signal, then, is applied to the two metal stators (also known as plates). These stators/plates act as a sort of capacitor.

What Kind Of Magnets Are Used In Headphone

What Kind Of Magnets Are Used In Headphone

When the audio signal is positive, it applies a positive charge on the front plate and an equal but negative charge on the rear plate. This causes the positively charged diaphragm to move to the back. Conversely, when the audio signal is negative, the front plate becomes negatively charged and pulls the diaphragm while the rear plate becomes positive and pushes the diaphragm.
That simple explanation of how electrostatic headphone drivers work is just to show that they do not require magnets.

When choosing which headphones you want to purchase, you will want to look at the type of magnet used in the device. Different types have their own benefits and some commonly used magnets that you will find in headphones are Ferrite, Aluminum, and Samarium Cobalt. However, the magnet most people believe is the best on the market and often comes in the highest quality headphones is Neodymium magnets.

Neodymium magnets pack more magnetic energy in each ounce compared to others, which allows them to produce a higher sensitivity and more ample sound output while using less power. They are a fraction of the weight of most other magnets that may be used in headphones, but you will find the bass performance and sound are much better. Often, the thicker the magnet used the punchier the bass sound you will receive from your headphones.

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