5 Different Types Of Headphone Drivers You Should Learn about


If you are searching for the perfect headphones to buy that suits you, you must understand how they work, how to use them and what factors to consider when you want to get one.

There is much more to purchasing headphones than just selecting the one that looks appealing to you. Headphones are made with many components, one of them is the driver or the transducer.

The headphone driver is made of magnets, and other components like the diaphragm, and voice coils. The driver is the most essential piece of a headphone. Its job is to convert electrical energy into sound energy that the ear can relate with.

There are different types of driver units. These come in different sizes of 8mm in earphones and above 20mm in headphones.

You might think that the quality of sound it produces is related to the size of the driver but it is not necessarily the case. The size of the sound is also affected by how the structure of the unit motor. Headphones can have more than one driver to manage a different range of frequency.

Some drivers can produce sounds with a frequency range of 20Hz to 20KHz.

Having multiple drivers might be a better option as the drive can filter more frequency range allowing each driver to focus. Note that, headphone with multiple doesn’t mean it’s the best.

Types of Drivers

Balanced Amateur Drivers

The balanced amateur drivers are small in size and can only be used for earphones.

The drivers are made of the small arm inside a wire coil in between two magnets. The top and bottom magnet determines the direction the miniature arm will move.

When the net force on the amateur is zero that is the distance between the two magnets and the amateur similar, we can say it is balanced.

When currents enter the amateur, it becomes a magnet and causes it to move toward any of the magnets. This movement is what produces the sound we hear.

The balanced amateur driver can be tuned to a particular frequency though the range is limited. You may notice that one single IEM set may have as many as 4 drivers to make a sound.

One advantage of the balanced amateur drivers is noise isolation. There don’t need to displace air to produce sound, they don’t need an additional air vent. This gives better isolation producing a more clear sound.


It performs better in the frequency of treble.

The sounds are very clear.

You can tune the drivers to a specific frequency for better performance.


They are usually more expensive than other drivers.

There is a need for extra drivers to get bass sound.

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Electrostatic Driver

This type of driver uses static electricity to produce sound. The principle behind the sound production is like charges repel and unlike charges attracts. The vibration of the headphone happens when the diaphragm pushes against the conducting plates also known as electrodes pushing air through the perforations leading to the generation of sounds.

Drivers are complex and require energizers. These type of drivers are found expensive headphones with open back.

Although they are not portable and are expensive, the sound is of high-quality. The electrostatic driver can produce better sound than another driver.


They produce distortion-free sounds.

The sound they produce is similar to real life.


They require an amplifier.



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Dynamic Drivers

Dynamic drivers are the cheapest and most common that is available at the moment. Dynamic drivers use the physics of electromagnetism to cause motion that leads to sound creation.

There are three component of a dynamic driver

A neodymium magnet


and voice coil

The voice coil is converted into an electromagnet by the magnet. A magnetic field is made which it moves to the direction determined by the current. The voice coil is moved towards or away from the field. This causes the diaphragm to move and displace air creating sound on the process. The more air that is displaced, the louder the sound created.

The mechanism of this driver is simple and does not require much power to get to maximum volume. One major problem associated with this driver is the sound distortion it is prone to experience when the volume is out the loudest.


Can create good bass without needing too much power.

They are very affordable.


The quality is not so great and is prone to sound distortion.

Planar Magnetic Driver

They are also known as orthodynamic driver. The drivers are usually very thin.

The principle is similar to that of the dynamic driver where magnetic fields are used to create sounds.

The whole of the diaphragm is vibrated, so large magnets have to be used which adds to the weight of the headphones, and the power needs or the need for extra amplifiers.

They are usually more expensive and are not portable when compared to the dynamic drivers.

The planar magnetic drivers produce high-quality sound with little to no distortion. The bass response is also excellent because of the large volume of air it displaces.


Provide excellent quality and low-distortion of sound.

Great bass.


The headphone amplifier is needed.

Quite costly.

Heavy and bulky.

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Bone Conduction

Headphone technology has gone a come a long way, thanks to innovations. Bone conducting headphones bypass the eardrums directly to the inner ear through bone conduction. They are helpful in situations where the ear does not need to be blocked, for people who need to stay alert in their environment. Also called “bonephones”, these unique devices are not as powerful as the conventional ones.


Allows you to pay attention to external sounds.

Helpful with people with an ear problem.


It is not as powerful as the others.


Though your final decision on which headphone to buy will come down to how much it cost and if it is readily available, knowing what type of drivers they use is still worth it.

The driver that you can easily find and is also readily available is the dynamic drivers. There are circumstances where you might need to get other drivers.

For example, those who produce music might need to get electrostatic drivers because of the top-notch sound quality. Ensure you do adequate research before you make your final decision.