Electrostatic Headphones

A side step in the audio industry

What is it?

An electrostatic headphone shares the same driver technology as the electrostatic speaker. The electrostatic headphone uses a thin membrane that is coated with a magnetic substance as a diaphragm. It is held between two vented metal plates with opposite polarity. Because audio electrical currents don't flow in one direction, but instead fluctuates, the signal is applied to the edge of the diaphragm (fixed part of diaphragm), moving the diaphragm towards one side then the other at desired frequencies. It is the opposite of the moving coil speaker where the signal is applied to the coil, in this case the diaphragm. Electrostatic speaker technology is similar to brushless electric motors where the power is applied to the fixed (non-moving) part of the motor instead of to the rotor through brushes. These headphones generally require much more power than regular dynamic driver headphones and will require a rig (electronic components like amplifiers, and transformers) making it not a portable solution.

So how does it compare to other headphone designs?

There is only one other headphone design commonly known in the audio industry and that is the Dynamic driver headphone. A dynamic driver is basically a normal moving coil speaker you see in your sound systems. The electrostatic speaker is known to be able to produced clearer, more detailed midrange and better extended treble. But electrostatic drivers, because of the design, is extremely inferior in bass and low frequency sounds. They cannot move as much air as dynamic drivers and therefore is lacking in a lot of bass and musical dynamics. Most audiophiles still prefer the more life like, bigger, and warmer sound of the dynamic driver. Electrostatic speakers do have better ability to reveal details in music, but fall way short of in-ear monitors with balanced armature drivers. The electrostatic headphone is seen as a side step in the audio industry and probably will never be an upgrade from existing technology.

Citations

I did not use any website or books for this. My source for information was myself.


Picture Citations:


N.d. Google ImagesWeb. 13 Feb 2013.