Materials used in Diaphragms of Dynamic drivers

There are 3 parts to a Dynamic Driver: the magnet, voice coil and diaphragm. But the materials used to make a diaphragm vary. The ZMF Aeolus uses TPE plastic. The Fostex Ebony uses Biocellulose. The Focal Elex uses Aluminum-Magnesium. Sennhieser HD600 use a multilayered plastic material. Koss uses Beryllium drivers. Beyerdinamic DT1990’s use Titanium-coated acoustic fabric from precision-woven textiles.

Other materials used for diaphragms include Graphene, polypropylene, polyetheretherketone polycarbonate, Mylar, silk, glassfibre, carbon fibre, nickel. Sometimes the drivers are layered and made from a number of materials.

A company just made a set of headphone with the first ever Graphene drivers. which received a lot of acclaim but was very negatively reviewed by Joshua Valor

I was wondering how important the materials used in Dynamic driver diaphragms are? So far the Diaphragm seems to be the most prominent part of the driver. But ive noticed a big difference in different types of diaphragm materials used. What seems to be the best? Whats the latest materials being used and whats coming in the future?

It depends on how well they know how to tune the driver with that material. A specific driver does not mean something will sound better than something else. There really isn’t a best, it’s more what suits your preference and how the headphone was made as a whole. DLC drivers and CNT drivers will most likely be prominent in the future

There is more to a diaphram than just what it’s made of, commonly you’ll have say a cellulose driver with a rubber surround that actually flexes for example.
Some metal drivers are folded, and that’s how they move.
You can make generalizations, but they only really hold to some extent, metal drivers tend to be brighter and faster.

the material is only part of making a good driver you can take a good driver and still make a shitty headphone at the end of the day there is more to a headphone and the sound of a headphone than just the driver.

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Of course. a lot goes into a heaphone. but the materials the diaphragm are made of seem to be a big part of the quality of a headphones sound. I really like the quality of the Biocellulose diamphragms. also Koss really impresses with their Beryllium drivers, yet they manage to keep it cheap. recently i really was not impressed with the Aeolus TPE drivers. i felt its a big reason they lacked detail.

I have a personal rule about never buying first to market technology. It doesn’t always work out badly, but in a world of limited resources I choose not to buy first drafts.


I think much like the driver size discussion, your just grasping at trying to find something that will correlate to what you want to hear.
There are good paper drivers and bad ones, good plastic drivers and bad ones etc etc…
You’re literally extrapolating from a sample size of 1 for the Aeolus.
Lots of people seem to like that headphone, the same with the NDH-20’s which I believe use a metal diaphragm.


Graphene Oxide is an interesting material for a driver, but I’m not going to buy one material as superior to others, until high end headphones all go one way.
I mean if there are no trade offs why would a manufacturer in the price no object category select anything but the best…

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Also weren’t you in the camp that planars are absolutely better than dynamics? What changed?

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Lets not talk about me. Lets talk about dynamic driver diaphragms! :smiley:

So what do you guys think of them? :no_mouth:

They are good drivers and are the most common for a good reason

Material of the diaphragm does not matter as much. A piece of wood or polysterol with an exciter clamped to it can make an excellent speaker.
Does not change the fact the room acoustic is complete garbage.

I’d say the diaphragm is about 1/3rd of the total sound, but not because of material, but because of shape.

hmm, interesting. I thought that besides the coil, magnet, chamber, and pads, the diaphragm was the most important part of the headphone, sound wise. what shapes are there?

Various stages between rectangular to round, then the “depth of the cone”, positioning in the cup, etc.

You know, interestingly enough, the Nighthawk use biocellulose dynamic. Which is why many people say the Nighthawk needs a lot of burn-in.

oh cool, i like the biocellulose driver on the Fostex Ebony. I think its a great driver and a lot of people seem to like it. but the ebony sounded great out of the box. I just saw Metal’s review of the regular nightowl and man, he didnt like it lol. The Carbon version is supposed to be more refined but i dont think he reviewed it

The carbon and the original are somewhat similar, still with a weird signature but the carbon is a tad bit less weird, and also came with a more portable cable. Metal is a real fr nut so that tuning prob really threw him for a loop lol

Ikr? He seems to like his headphones tuned very particularly.
My Nighthawk are the Carbon version. Haven’t tried the original, but I imagine they are pretty similar, although I like the suede pads way more than the protein leather, much more comfortable and better bass.

Metal prefers neutral but with very reduced upper mids.

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