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Avantone Planar Pro Headphones – Red Team Is Winning

Avantone Planar Pro Headphones – Red Team Is Winning

 

 

Avantone Pro Planar is the latest headphone from Europe, with a Planar technology behind, but without the pocket-emptying price that most of those have. The unit I’m reviewing today is red and ready to fight, and they have to be compared to other headphones costing around 450 USD or more, as well, so the competitors will be Beyerdynamic T1 (1000 USD), AIAIAI TMA-2 HD (400 USD), OLLO S4X (400 USD), and Dan Clark Aeon Flow (500 USD). 

 


 

 

 

Introduction

 

Avantone actually has a ton of experience with studio equipment, and they have tons of amazing and well-regarded speakers, microphones, even musical instruments, so everyone expects their headphones to be in line with their musical equipment. When it comes to warranty, they are nothing to sneer at, and offer some of the best warranties out there, at 5 years, being in line with Ultrasone. Now this may not seem like much, since other companies do offer it as well, but we’re talking about a Planar magnetic headphone, which is much harder to build and especially maintain for 5 years in perfect working condition, Avantone showing us that they’re perfectly ready for today’s market and ready to make headphones. 

 

 

It should be noted that I have absolutely no affiliation with Avantone Pro, I am not receiving any incentive for this review or to sweeten things out. I’d like to thank Avatnone for providing the sample for this review. Every opinion expressed is mine and I stand by it, the purpose of this review is to help those interested in Avantone Pro Planar find their next music companion. 

 

 

 

Product Link

 

Best place to grab the Avantone Pro Planar Headphones is Thomann, Europe and World Wide: https://redir.love/thoprod/503818?partner_id=71369

 

You can also grab one from www.amazon.com here: https://amzn.to/3obaBLn

 

 

 

Packaging

 

First things first, let’s get the packaging out of the way:

 

 

The package of this one is actually quite ingenious and I never had the chance to review a headphone this interesting. This is because it comes with two cables, one for both ears, but also a cable that can be connected to a single cup. I had to ask the company what’s the deal with the cables, and it seems like the Pro Planar can be connected to either ear, or both ears at the same time, so they suit both on stage performers like drummers, but also music listeners. 

 

 

I always had the cable connected to just one side, since there is no degradation in the sonic performance of the Pro Planar headphones. The package also includes an eco-friendly carrying bag. That one won’t offer much protection to the headphones, but will be a nice way to protect them from scratches. 

 

 

 

Build Quality/Aesthetics/Fit/Comfort

 

 

 

Speaking of build quality and protection, I had the Pro Planar headphones in my backpack for days now, taking them with me for travel, and despite them not having a carrying case, they show no sign of usage, not even the most minor scratch. The headphones are quite large, but they aren’t very heavy, being in line with most planars. The cups can swivel in any direction and on all axis, but the swivel range is somewhat limited, and they have the cups connected via a wire that passes through the headband. 

 

 

Each cup has a 3.5mm connector with 3 poles, it is possible to use single ended cables only, and using them with the cable connected to just one side makes no audible difference than connecting both sides at once. The cups are made of metal, and have a honeycomb design, with the drivers being protected by a sponge at the outer cup level. Despite the shape being rectangular, Avantone Pro Planar is extremely comfortable, partly thanks to the thick and large cushions / earpads, which are the velour type. 

 

The hadband helps with the support, it has strong springs, so the headphone does not move much while you’re using it. It is not made for walking, and there is some vertical movement while walking. Avantone Pro Planar leaks less than most open-back headphones, but they do not isolate very much, and wearing them is almost like not wearing them at all isolation-wise. In terms of comfort this is true too, you can barely feel them thanks to the excellent weight distribution and high-quality earpads. I am getting better overall seal and ergonomics with the Avantone Pro Planar than with flagships like Kennerton Thror or HIFIMAN He 6 SE, but similar to Audeze and Dan Clark Aeon Flow

 

My ears have just the right amount of space inside the cups, and someone with bigger ears may struggle a bit (then again, I have what I consider to be the upper limit of large ears). I am making a big deal out of how scratch resistant the paint of Anatone Pro Planar is, because I had headphones in the past that were really easy to scratch. 

 

 

Despite being a planar headphone, Avantone Pro Planar has just 32 OHMs of impedance, and they also have 104dB of SPL, so they are incredibly easy to drive, making them one of the most fun and easy to use headphones to date. They are easily driveable from your average smartphone, and they sound incredibly good out of one too. I will still recommend using a high-quality source for driving them though, like a FiiO M11 PRO, Astell & Kern SE180, iBasso DX160, or Shanling M3X. I used the Pro Planar a lot with Lotoo Paw 6000, and Pablab M1 Mini too. All in all, they are really ergonomic, easy to use, easy to drive and not picky about anything, making their usage a real piece of cake regardless what the rest of your setup is. 

 

 

 

Sound Quality

 

For most of today’s review I have been using Cyrus One Cast, Lotto Paw 6000, Astell & Kern SE180, Pablab M1 Mini, iBasso DX300 with AMP12, and Keces S3, as a source for Avantone Pro Planar. The overall results have been really favorable, and it is really easy to enjoy Pro Planar, especially if you have a decent source, with my favorite overall sources for them being SE180 and Cyrus One Cast, as it drives them with the least effort and gives them the most dynamics and punch. 

 

The overall signature of Avantone Pro Planar can be described as natural – warm with a smooth treble, excellent overall detail and resolution, with extremely low distortion, but excellent overall dynamics and impact. They are a more natural sounding headphone, made to be perfect for both listening and studio, rather than extra thick or too thin and too neutral. The overall resolution matches most 1000 USD headphones too, especially if you pair the Pro Planar with a really good source that is able to power them properly. You could also describe the Avantone Pro Planar as vocal, voice centric and midrange forward, depending on what the reference you’re coming from is. 

 

 

The bass of the Pro Planar is deep, and has extension as low as 30 Hz, below which they show a gentle roll off curve, that takes away some of the rumble and sub-lows but also provides one of the clearest and most distortion-free sounds I’ve seen in this price range. They have far more bass and impact than HIFIMAN Sundara, so the bass is not absent. In fact, above 30 Hz, there is an uplift compared to an absolute neutral sound, and the bass is quite satisfying and punchy rather than flat. This is great for both rock and EDM, and the sonic character of the bass is quick and resolute, leaning towards slightly dry, so we’re looking at a fairly punchy and speedy headphone in the Pro Planar. In fact, that speed means that you can use a ton of bass boost without them lagging behind or feeling tired. 

 

The midrange is clearly the highlight of Avantone Pro Planar’s sound, with a really open, wide and detailed midrange that’s also forward and detailed to keep you yearning for more. I noticed that PAW 6000 from Lotoo made it the easiest to EQ and tweak the sound of Pro Planar with some of their default profiles being quite useful if you wanted to take some of the edge off, but the default signature is deliciously colorful and dynamic, perfect for bringing the music closer to you rather than taking away some of that dynamic experience. Even on older music like Justin Timberlake – Sexy Back, I am hearing the voices pretty forward, but I never struggle for air or space, and there’s a good sense of depth, with multiple layers of instruments easy to separate from each other. Background effects are also plentiful and easy to listen to, without much struggle. I am getting a really good sense of micro detail too, with Pro Planar never having grain to sounding fatiguing. 

 

 

This brings us to the treble, which is never fatiguing or bright, but also smooth and pretty effortless. Given the speedy and slightly dry bass, you’d probably expect the treble to be somewhat grainy, but to my pleasant surprise, the treble is fairly clean and open, with little fatigue, little overall grain, and instead a smooth and natural experience. This being said, usually when I describe the treble as being smooth, it implies some level of roll-off, but Avantone Pro Planar has none of that, and the treble extends well into the 14 kHz range, and is quite expressive too, with excellent detail and sparkle, air, as well as high reach where it is needed. The textures are enjoyable and smooth though. All in all, their signature sound is really enjoyable, and if you like vocal headphones with a forward sound, they are just neat. 

 

 

 

Comparisons 

 

Given the way Avantone Pro usually handles things, and how they usually match with much higher priced competitors, I decided to include comparisons with really good competitors, like Dan Clark Aeon Flow, Beyerdynamic T1, Ollo S4X, and AIAIAI TMA-2 HD

 

 

 

 

Avantone Pro Planar vs Beyerdynamic T1 (450 USD vs 1000 USD) – Starting with the brightest competitor, T1 is a bit more comfortable with less clamping force, but a less secure fit too. The overall sound is much brighter on T1, with much more treble, less bass, and less midrange. Everything sounds closer to the listener on Pro Planar, with more overall detail, more personality, more color in voices, and much better impact in the midrange. The bass is deeper, with more power on Pro Planar. The cable is better. This is a good example of how a pretty good midrange towards high end headphone can beat a flagship. Unless you’re looking for a bright signature, I recommend Pro Planar to most listeners, they are more musical, more detailed and more enjoyable, also much less fatiguing. 

 

Avantone Pro Planar vs AIAIAI TMA-2 HD (450 USD vs 400 USD) – The comfort is actually in favor of the Pro Planar, despite them being a bit heavy, and despite them being a bit heavier than TMA-2 HD. I have the comfort variation of AIAIAI, so they have similar thickness for their earpads, but the pads of AIAIAI are softer, and more comfortable than the ones of the Pro Planar. Both headphones are enjoyable when it comes to using them, but Pro Planar has more clamping force which makes me feel more secure while wearing them. The sonic presentation is much deeper with more bass, more impact and more depth on the AIAIAI TMA-2 HD. By comparison, Avantone Pro Planar is much more midrange-forward, with more dynamics, more impact in the mids, and much more detail / resolution. Micro-details are also much better on Pro Planar, with better overall instrument separation. I really loved the TMA-2 HD and would still give them more of a thumbs up for bassheads, but Pro Planar is better for other listeners, especially for mid centric lovers.  

 

Avantone Pro Planar vs Dan Clark Aeon Flow (450 USD vs 500 USD) – Aeon Flow is pretty much just a polar opposite headphone from Pro Planar. While the comfort is somewhat better on the Aeon Flow, due to their more ergonomic shape and slightly lower weight, the overall signature is just polar opposite. Aeon Flow is V-Shaped with an extremely deep and satisfying sub-low bass presentation, recessed midrange, and sparkly / uplifting treble, tons of energy all around, and a really hard to drive nature. Pro Planar is really mid centric and forward, with a beautiful voicing, impactful vocals, and less sub-bass, and also less upper treble than the Flow. They are also far easier to drive. The choice here is really easy, if you like U shaped or V Shaped signatures, then Aeon flow should be your thing, while if you enjoy a mid centric and forward signature, then Avantone Pro Planar should be your thing. Detail levels are comparable and similar between them. 

 

Avantone Pro Planar vs OLLO S4X (450 USD vs 400 USD) – We have a really hard choice to make here, both headphones are intended for studio, but also for listening. I want to start by saying that the overall comfort is mostly equal, with Pro Planar being slightly better thanks to the larger cups. The overall sonic presentation is much warmer, thicker and deeper on S4X, which is almost basshead in comparison to the mid-centric and vocal presentation of Avantone Pro Planar. The overall music is faster, more detailed and lighter on the Avantone Pro Planar, but it has more substance and more ground on the S4X. Both are great for studio work, but I would personally work more on Pro Planar if mastering Jazz, Classical or mid-centric music, and use S4X for Pop, EDM, Dubstep and bass-heavy music, where you really need to listen for minor changes in bass. Avantone Pro Planar has more detail in midrange and treble, but S4X has more detail in the bass. S4X is slightly grainy in comparison to Pro Planar which is more grain-free.  

 

 

 

Value and Conclusion

 

We’re looking at a headphone with an excellent price / performance ratio, something that can be used for both studios, mixing, mastering, but also simply listening to music from a smartphone, through a DAC/AMP. I haven’t seen this great of a price / performance ratio around 400 USD in a long while (since HarmonicDyne Zeus actually). 

 

 

Avantone Pro Planar made a nice package, a nice build quality, an ergonomic headphone, and went even further ensuring us that they are going to be usable even after 5 years, basically making the Pro Planar futureproof, for most of us. I am not a light user for sure, but this is a headphone that can totally keep up with me, so it should be able to keep up with you, regardless of how you use them. 

 

Before the end of today’s review, I need to give respect where it is due, so I will be adding the Avantone Pro Planar to Audiophile-Heaven’s Hall Of Fame, for their sonic performance, ergonomics, convenience of usage, and overall quality. 

 

 

At the end of today’s review, if you’re looking for a smooth, mid-centric and vocal-centric, detailed, grain-free headphone with great comfort, great ergonomics, and excellent support, then Avantone Pro Planar should  be in your purchase list. 

 

 

 

Product Link

 

Best place to grab the Avantone Pro Planar Headphones is Thomann, Europe and World Wide: https://redir.love/thoprod/503818?partner_id=71369

 

You can also grab one from www.amazon.com here: https://amzn.to/3obaBLn

 

 

 



 

 

 

— Please remember to stay safe, and always have fun while listening to music!—

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Full Playlist used for this review

 

We listened to more songs than those named in this playlist, but those are excellent for identifying a sonic signature.  PRaT, Texturization, Detail, Resolution, Dynamics, Impact, and overall tonality are all revealed by those songs. We recommend trying most of the songs from this playlist, especially if you’re searching for new music!

 

If you have a dime to spare (donate), it would make my day much brighter, as it would help me improve things around the website and increase the frequency of my posts.

 

Youtube Playlist

 

 

Tidal Playlist

 

https://listen.tidal.com/playlist/64555551-ec3c-4279-ae44-248fdfcf6c4b

 

 

 

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