What Are Dual Driver Headphones? (And Are They Better?)


For exceptional enjoyment and convenience when listening to music or other forms of sound, headphones are usually a necessity. If you are an audiophile, you would also be more concerned about the quality of the sound. This brings us to some of the most sought-after headphones known as dual driver headphones. 

What are dual driver headphones? Dual driver headphones have two different sets of drivers. In other words, each earpiece of the headphone comes with two tiny speakers. One of the speakers is for handling the bass while the other takes care of the high and mid frequencies. As a result, dual driver headphones tend to produce better sound than single driver headphones.

In comparison, a single driver headphone has one driver that handles all sound frequencies. However, due to the complexity of different frequencies, a single driver may not have one of the frequency ranges. Resultantly, a single driver may not handle the sound frequency effectively. So, before buying any headphones, you should endeavor to know the number and quality of the drivers that they have.

What Does Driver Mean in Headphones?

A driver determines the quality of sound that a headphone can produce. It is the electromagnetic component of the headphones that ensures the electrical signals are converted into sound.

It is called a driver because it is a tiny speaker that makes sure that sound is driven into the ear canal.

As a matter of fact, the driver is the most vital part of the headphone as it is responsible for creating the sound from the headphone. Therefore, without a driver, a headphone cannot function.

Although drivers are generally disk-shaped, they come in different sizes. Notably, they usually have a diameter of around 20mm to 50mm. In general, bigger drivers have a greater tendency of delivering higher output than the smaller ones. However, they may not produce better output. Simply put, the size of a driver determines the loudness of sound but does not necessarily affect the sound quality.

What are the Components of Drivers in Headphones?

Basically, there are three main components in each driver, namely:

  • A magnet

This component is designed for creating a magnetic field.

  • Voice Coils

This unit is meant for moving the diaphragm so that audio sounds are produced whenever the electric current moves through them.

  • A diaphragm

When stimulated by electric current, a diaphragm vibrates to make sure that sound waves are produced.

What are the Types of Drivers?

The four main types of drivers available are:

  • Dynamic drivers

This is a kind of compact and lightweight driver with a neodymium magnet. The magnet, which is attached to the housing of the headphone, produces the required static magnetic field. After interacting with the field, the coil will move back and forth to produce vibrations. The vibration, in turn, produces the sound waves.

They make low-end frequencies and often have poor sound reproduction capability. Extremely small dynamic drivers also usually produce unwanted harmonic distortion especially when they are at louder volumes. The major advantage of dynamic drivers is that they do not need much power to function.

  • Planar magnetic drivers

Just like dynamic drivers, planar magnetic drivers also utilize magnetic fields to operate. However, instead of having coils, they come with a distinctively large, flat membrane with a specially integrated wire pattern.

Although planar magnetic drivers are more expensive, larger and heavier than dynamic drivers, they tend to produce better sound. Furthermore, these drivers need more power to function effectively.

  • Balanced armature drivers

When compared to dynamic drivers, balanced armature drivers produce better sound and are smaller. Their treble response and distortion-free sound are also of great quality. As their name suggests, balanced armature drivers have a magnetic armature that sits on a pivot and moves from one magnet to another. Whenever this magnetic armature is positioned at the center of the magnetic field, it is said to be balanced as it will not have any net force.

  • Electrostatic drivers

Electrostatic drivers are designed to produce an electric field through the assistance of static electricity. Along with the regular changes of the electric signal, the movement of the diaphragm of the drivers produces sound. While electrostatic drivers are usually more expensive than others, they create no or negligible harmonic distortion; hence, their sound production is often the best.

Like planar magnetic drivers, electrostatic drivers are heavy and large. They also need a specialized amplifier to function effectively.

Check out this video for an explanation of the different driver types:

Are Dual Drivers Better Than Single Drivers?

In general, dual drivers are more capable of producing better sound than a single driver. This is because they have two drivers that work separately to harmonize the sound being produced. One of the speakers is dedicated to handling the high and mid frequencies while the other one takes care of the bass.

Due to this sound separation, dual driver can produce richer and more amplified sound than their single driver counterparts. While single-driver headphones can produce sounds of as much as 20 kHz, dual driver headphones can produce louder audio. Therefore, it can be concluded that dual drivers are better than single drivers.

How Many Drivers Can You Have in a Headphone?

There are various types of headphones with one, two, three or more drivers. So, there are no restrictions on the number of drivers that a headphone can have. The number of drivers that a headphone can have depends largely on the goal of the manufacturer and the intended sound quality.

The popular Youtube channel “Unbox Therapy” has a funny video where they unbox a 12 speaker headphone! Check it out here:

Does More Driver Mean Better Sounds?

Yes, this is true in most cases. In other words, more drivers usually mean that a headphone can produce better sounds. Nevertheless, the materials used for making the driver and their quality also have a great effect on the sound quality. Therefore, it is possible for a headphone with a lesser number of drivers to produce better sound than others with more drivers. However, this only happens in a few cases.

It is worthwhile to understand that there are certain pros that often make headphones with more drivers to create better sounds.

  • More drivers produce less distortion

Although a single driver headphone can produce a loud sound, the audio may have some unwanted distortion. In most cases, the higher the audio range, the more the distortions. However, multiple drivers take care of this problem as they produce clearer and louder sound without much distortion.

  • More drivers mean more efficiency

Multiple drivers boast of having advanced filtering capacity; hence, they are highly capable of separating one sound frequency from another. In addition, this advanced filtering capacity allows multiple drivers to produce smoother and better sound frequency.

  • More drivers offer additional sound quality

As stated earlier, more drivers mean that a specific driver is particularly dedicated to handling a particular frequency range. As a result of this, more drivers ensure that the sound frequency in the audio is not limited. Since the sound frequency is separated by two or more drivers, the quality of sound is naturally boosted.

  • Extra drivers produce an all-in-one headphone

In general, headphones with two or more drivers usually consist of a crossover network circuit. This circuit separates the signal path of varieties of frequencies; therefore, you can get high-quality sound from a single device. The headphone will be able to provide a great sound signature and bass response. As a result of this, you do not need additional equipment to get the desired sound quality. 

Similarly, dual driver headphones can be used effectively with any devices. Some of the modern headphones can even be used with remote that enables users to control track selection, volume, and other parameters. So, the extra drivers make the headphones to be multipurpose and virtually unlimited in their capacity.

Just like some other pieces of equipment, dual driver headphones have a few downsides that are worth considering before buying.

  • Dual driver headphones tend to cost more

When it comes to cost, dual driver headphones are usually more expensive than those with a single driver. This higher cost is due to the extra speaker that is fitted into a small space to produce high-quality sound. However, the quality of sound produced by the headphones often justifies the price. Without a doubt, audiophiles and other sound enthusiasts will appreciate the sound quality that the dual driver headphones are capable of producing.

  • Dual driver headphones tend to be bulkier

Since they contain more than one driver in a single device, a lot of dual driver headphones tend to be bulkier than those with a single driver.

What Kind of Headphones Has Multiple Drivers (Over-ear or in-ear)?

Both over-ear headphones and in-ear headphones can have multiple drivers. Nonetheless, it should be noted that there are more in-ear headphones with multiple drivers than over-ear headphones with multiple drivers.

Some of the popular over-ear headphones with multiple drivers are the 1More’s Triple Driver headphone and Enigmacoustics Dharma D1000.

Rune Bearson

As you can see, I love my headphones! I use them every day when commuting, watching YouTube videos, playing guitar/piano and doing chores. I'm a podcast addict and I like all kinds of music from metal to chillout ambient.

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