Audeze just put 90mm planar magnetic drivers in new $399 cans and I need them

Audeze MM-100 headphones on black background
(Image credit: Audeze)

Regular readers will need no further fanfare from me when it comes to Audeze, makers of the excellent $1,300 Audeze Euclid planar magnetic in-ears, the fabulous $1,199 Audeze LCD-X and the best-in-class 'affordable' Audeze LCD-1 – if $399 counts as affordable in your book. 

And that last set of headphones is perhaps most pertinent here since, while excellent, the LCD-1 was released in 2019. But now Audeze has released a new proposition that still boasts 90mm planar magnetic drivers and still costs just $399 (which is around £320 or AU$599, but those prices are unofficial). 

The name? Audeze MM-100. Remember you heard it here first…  

Audeze MM-100 headphones in profile on white background

Look at that circumaural design though…  (Image credit: Audeze)

Will this model prove to be among the best headphones of 2023? I mean, I can't say for sure, but if I were a gambling woman… the competition is fierce at that level, with the likes of the Bowers & Wilkins PX8, the Focal Bathys and of course the Sony WH-1000XM5 in that category; but remember, none of those are planar magnetic solutions.

As a quick recap: planar magnetic drivers are different to the more typically-used dynamic drivers in headphones in that they use a flat diaphragm, rather than the traditional cone-shaped or dome-shaped membrane. This is then sandwiched between an array of magnets to create an evenly-suspended diaphragm in between permanent magnetic fields. Why should you want that? Planar magnetic drivers make the headphones that use them extremely resistant to various types of audio and electronic distortion – aka you get clearer, more detailed, better music. 

All of this, for just $399? I know, I'm intrigued too… 

Opinion: for this money, Audeze is looking at a sure-fire hit and then some with its MM-100 over-ear cans

Audeze MM-100 headphones on white background

Might these be the best $399 headphones you could possibly put over your ears?  (Image credit: Audeze)

Aside from those drivers (nine centimeters, covering each ear in a circumaural, open-back design) the other ace up the MM-100's sleeve is that these headphones were made in collaboration with 17-time Grammy-winning engineer/producer Manny Marroquin. 

The MM-100 features a new lightweight chassis, boasting premium materials but weighing just 375g – for comparison, the excellent but almost entirely plastic Sony WH-100XM4 weigh 254g, while the much-more-metal build of the Beyerdynamic Amiron Wireless sees them weigh in at 380g. 

Audeze tells us the MM-100 are actually based on the company's MM-500, and carry forward the highly regarded tuning from those 90mm planar magnetic drivers, which should make the MM-100 easy to drive from any console, interface, or laptop – no portable DAC required (although I'd still recommend one to have the cans singing at their best).

If you need to hear it, Audeze’s Uniforce diaphragms, Fazor waveguides and Fluxor Magnets are all here too, and the headphones have been Industry-tested and refined by top recording artists at the Larrabee Studios in Hollywood. 

Audeze's MM-100 over-ear headphones are assembled in the USA, with first shipments expected in May. I cannot wait to hear them and perhaps invite them to join TechRadar's roundup of the best over-ear headphones we've had the pleasure of wearing. And yes, I realize I may have to join a long line… 

Becky Scarrott
Audio Editor

Becky became Audio Editor at TechRadar in 2024, but joined the team in 2022 as Senior Staff Writer, focusing on all things hi-fi. Before this, she spent three years at What Hi-Fi? testing and reviewing everything from wallet-friendly wireless earbuds to huge high-end sound systems. Prior to gaining her MA in Journalism in 2018, Becky freelanced as an arts critic alongside a 22-year career as a professional dancer and aerialist – any love of dance starts with a love of music. Becky has previously contributed to Stuff, FourFourTwo and The Stage. When not writing, she can still be found throwing shapes in a dance studio, these days with varying degrees of success.