For a relatively young audio brand, Helm Audio stepped into the planar magnetic headphone space quite early with the Wave 5 almost 2 years back, which also happened to be very reasonably priced at $349.
At CES 2020, I had a chance to meet with Eric Johnson, Helm Audio’s amicable CEO, and he ran me through some of the key highlights at the event. Key to the portfolio? Helm Audio’s upcoming studio planar magnetic headphones. As might be expected, there are a few new twists in the tale.
For one, this device will be about generating studio sound on the go. Helm realised that most planar and audiophile/studio headphones suffer from low efficiently with an average sensitivity of 95 dB, which can’t be sufficiently powered by mobile devices—resulting in not enough volume or bass. By combining the world’s first highest conductive silver coiled diaphragms with high-energy neodymium magnets, the Helm Studio Planar Headphones produce a much higher efficiency with a resistance of 107 dB.
Then we have the fact that Helm developed the world’s first 66mm rectangular drivers, which flex more evenly than both round planar and dynamic drivers—minimizing distortion and delayed resonance while increasing accuracy and phase coherence, since all parts of the diaphragm move in harmony together. The fact that sound is distributed more evenly over the natural shape of your ears ensure an expansive soundstage.
Helm Audio emphasises on ensuring the longevity of the devices, with brushed aluminum surfaces that are fingerprint and scratch resistant. Plus, deep within, the driver’s diaphragms are coated with silver and proprietary polymers for increased resilience and flexibility.
Interestingly, Helm Audio won a massive four CES Innovation Awards [as a judge this year, I was happily among those who voted for them]. Key to their wins included the Electrostatic True Wireless in-ear monitors. The world’s first high-end electrostatic audio technology in a truly wireless configuration, the $199 Helm Audio Electrostatic is powered by the Qualcomm QCC chipset and features a dual driver hybrid configuration, beamforming mics with ANC technology and AptX + AAC Bluetooth codecs.
Helm Audio’s Studio Planar Magnetic headphones are now on pre-order, and will retail at $349.