CanJam at RMAF 2012: JPS Labs Abyss Prototype Planar Magnetic Headphone

Prototype Abyss Headphone (product expected to retail at about $5000)
My understanding of planar magnetic headphone drivers is that the isodynamic field (even strength magnetic field) is typically created by squeezing the fields together with opposing magnets. (See full article on how planar magnetic drivers work here.) One of the problems with this type of driver is that the magnetic structure on either side of the diaphragm is fairly bulky and restrictive to the sound it emits. The folks at JPS Labs believe they can make a reasonably linear (isodynamic) field with a magnet system on only one side of the driver and thereby eliminate some of the reflections which typically cause planar magnetic cans to lack the air and speed of electrostatic and good dynamic headphones. I spent a little time listening to these cans and felt that they did indeed sound fast and airy relative to other planar magnetics I've experienced. I also felt their bass weight a little lacking, but these are prototypes and the fit on my head wasn't very good, so I'm not going to jump to any conclusions yet. Bottom line, they showed promise to me.

More information can be found at the Abyss Headphone website.

Magick Man's picture

Same price as SR-009s? Reeeeaaally?  *blink*

ultrabike's picture

The asthetics are not appealing to me. I don't feel that a $5k headphone should have an Spiderman appeal to it. Also, the square headband rail seems odd to me.

From what I've read, it seems that HiFiMan's HE-6 pulled out a bit of air and decent tremble from the impressions I've read, and the FR plots I've seen. In my experience, while the HE-500 may be a bit dark, it definitively has air and impressive soundstage... HE-6 -> $1.3k (~4x cheaper - though seen it used for $1k) & HE-500 -> $700 (~7x cheaper) and to my eyes more appealing.

Furthermore, I'm not an expert by a long shot, but it seems kind of awckward to be concerned about the cup reflections, but have the magnets and a face plate between the ear and the driver. Shouldn't that "steel baffle" have an (negative?) impact in the sound performance of this headphone?

EDIT: I've been told by people whose opinion I trust that the steel baffle may only have marginal effect on the sound given the size of the slits. Also such metal plate appears to be common among most orthos.

Looking forward to hear more about these... I still hate their looks and price though.

Jazz Casual's picture

I'm inexplicably drawn to Spidey. 

MacedonianHero's picture

Wow...$5K....I think I'll stick with my incoming SR009s thank you very much.