4 Types of Headphone Drivers You Should Know About
Drivers are one of the most important components inside of headphones. Simply put, they turn electrical signals into sound waves so your ears can understand the music or audio you’re listening to. As with any important device, there are several variations that have different strengths and weaknesses. Read on to learn the four types of headphone drivers you should know about.
Dynamic drivers are also known as moving coil drivers, and they’re the most common option on the market. It uses electromagnetism and magnetism to create sound. The driver’s three main parts are:
- A voice coil
- A neodymium magnet
- A diaphragm attached to the voice coil
Essentially, the voice coil becomes electromagnetic. It then creates a magnetic field that follows the direction of the current. The voice coil repels and attracts toward the magnetic field, moving the diaphragm and creating sound. Dynamic drivers are very cost-effective and have excellent base, but they are susceptible to distortion.
Balanced Armature Driver
The next on our list of the four types of headphone drivers you should know about is the balanced armature driver, which is more dynamic and smaller than the dynamic driver. In these devices, two magnets surround a miniature armature inside a coil. When a current moves through the coil, the armature becomes magnetized. It pivots between the magnets, producing sound. People can enjoy excellent sound quality with these, but they’re more costly than dynamic drivers.
Electrostatic drivers use static electricity to produce sound. The device vibrates as the diaphragm pulls and pushes against conductive plates or electrodes. Air pushes through its perforations, resulting in sound waves and the continuously changing electric signal.
These are typically applied to high-end open-back headphones. While they’re expensive and fairly uncommon, they’ll provide a life-like soundstage and distortion-free sound.
Magnetostriction conduction headphones may seem like they come out of science fiction stories. Also known as bone-conducting headphones, these devices send vibrations straight to the inner ear through bone conduction. Their major benefit is they allow you to hear external sounds while you listen to music, making them excellent for joggers. However, they have limited fidelity.
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