Gold Planar is yet another new headphone company that has arisen from the Chinese market. For the past few years, we have been seeing more audiophile focussed IEM’s come out to the point where they dominate almost every price point for value for money. Saturation is upon them and the obvious move would be to expand into full-size headphones and that’s what seems to be happening here. We have been listening to the new Gold Planar GL600 for the best part of a month now and its time for the full review.
Tech specs and other stuff
The technical specifications of the GL600 look great. It’s a Planar Driver earphone as opposed to more traditional dynamic driver styles you would find at this price point. They have an open back housing, are designed to be worn over-ear and are meant to be used indoors as a reference headphone.
Here is the full specs sheet taken from the Linsoul website.
Impedance – 22ohms
Sensitivity – 100dB
THD – 0.25%@1KHZ/100dB SPL
Frequency – 6Hz-50KhHz
Driver – Nano Diaphragm planar driver
Weight – 375g
Cable – 1.5meter OFC 4 core cable
Build Quality and Design
Yes these do seem familiar
I won’t lie to you because I have seen these before. Other sites probably gloss over this to curry favor with manufacturers etc but there’s no point for me. I lay out the facts, couple it with my personal opinion of the product, and let you decide. So that said I actually own the “inspiration for these headphones” the Monorprice Monolith 565. The Gold Planar is not just the same headphones rebadged as another but its close. However, allow me to explain this process and why it’s not necessarily a bad thing. In fact, at times this can be very beneficial for you the buyer.
So a new headphone company comes up and the process of starting from scratch is daunting, they probably have designs in mind for future bespoke product ranges but right away they have no name, no reputation, distribution network, no manufacturing capacity. A lot, and I mean a lot of companies take existing products and either rebrand or modify them to get a foothold when starting out.
The sign of a good company is what products they choose to base their debut on and what modifications they have chosen to do. In this case, the GL600 are winners in my eyes as they have taken the ridiculously good value for money Monoprice Monolith m565 and made them sound, look, and feel better. If the 565 were bang for the buck then these headphones are boom for the buck.
Rugged and Stylish
Now when I say stylish we definitely aren’t talking about the common man on the street. No this is audiophile styling, the old school practicality over beauty style that many in the headphone aficionados world appreciate…. or hate. It’s a style that will split opinion and I really like them. There’s nothing pretentious about the design its put together in a way that its simple and functional. It’s somewhat industrial and old-school but brought forward to today by the angular lines and its grill vents.
They have a metal headband that moves in set increments guided by the small holes to which the mechanism advances. It has plenty of extension and compression so the fit will be fine for almost anyone.
The GL600 headphones swivel to lay flat and also pivot upwards. They are naturally articulating on the head so when you put them on you shouldn’t have to worry about making adjustments. The pivot points are very smooth which I like but make sure you grab them by the earcups when taking them off so as not to flip the cups.
The body of the headphones is completely metal and the only furnishings you will find are on the elasticated bridge headband and the earcups which seem to be made of very soft and well-padded protein leather.
The drivers, as I mentioned above, are vented to allow free movement of the air across the drivers. There is no option here for a closed-back model. Planars are usually open back design anyway and to make a good sounding closed-back version would significantly increase the price. For that reason, you are most likely going to want to use these headphones at home.
The cable is decent. Its nothing too special in regards to how supple it is and it does transmit some microphones. The hardware on it and build quality are both excellent and I like the inclusion of a screw-in jack adapter instead of a click in one.
Comfort and Isolation
Well, you probably guessed that the isolation is pretty bad on these headphones and you would be right. The open-back design lets in almost all external noise and conversely, it also leaks it. This is should be mentioned is a by-product of the necessity to produce excellent sound.
Comfort is a mixed bag. the earpads are great for medium and small-sized ears. I never had problems with hot spots or sweating with the Gold Planar. However, large ears will not fit inside the cavity of the pads. This could make them uncomfortable if you have the pads directly resting on your outer ear.
A polarizing issue for some will be the clamping force out the box but just know that you can back this off considerably by slightly bending at the metal at the corner points of the headband. I really like the clamping force because I tend to move around my house when listening so the tight fit helps keep them secure on my head. For others, I do know that this might cause discomfort during long listening sessions.
Make no mistake, for the money the Golplannar GL600 are excellent sounding headphones if you are looking for a highly detailed reference like performance. During this review of the headphones, I found myself more and more impressed at how well these performed and how uncolored they left the sound. This leads me to think that Gold Planar hasn’t got an exact copy of the Monoprice on offer. Either by the changes done to the housing or some tinkering with the driver they have produced a more flat and representative sound. Undoubtedly they have their similarities with the Monoliths being the slightly warmest of the two and having a more pronounced low end but the Gl600 fires back with good attention to the details and out and out transparency.
Bass is good but it’s on the light side and lacks deep rumble that you would likely miss if coming directly from consumer-grade headphones. The good news is it’s well textured and has good speed when compared against other headphones at the price point. It doesn’t force itself on the tracks you listen to its a very analytical tune and not emphasized.
The midrange is where the GL600 really shines. They produce lots of detail and do so with excellent clarity when setting against instruments in other frequencies. Every sound has its space and is clearly identifiable. Tones are on the cold side due to the overall lack of coloration and warmth imparted by the headphones thus allowing users to add that in for their own EQ settings if they wish.
Female vocals are especially good in the high notes and crescendos however deeper male vocals in the midrange do suffer from the lack of warmth. The good news is that you can hear most of the details with ease.
The highs will be reasonably bright if you are coming from a mainstream headphone. It can be jarring at first but you have to discern against what is sibilance and what is your brain is presented with a new normal. The sibilance on the earphones is very minor and the blending from the lower treble to upper midrange is very well done.
The soundstage is decent but if you were expecting these to be wide open airy sounding headphones due to the open back design then you might be let down. They are fine but its nothing to write home about.
Overall I really enjoyed listening to these headphones, they went great with any sort of rock classical and jazz genres but I wouldn’t use them for EDM or Rap unless it was for monitoring purposes which the Gold Planar would be very suited to.
It may not be an all-original design but I think Gold Planar has added a lot to the original design. The GL600 are better looking, better sounding, and overall better value proposition than the headphones from which they are based. The reference-quality sound will be a bonus for budget audiophiles but they may also put people off that are looking for easy-going listening sessions. The build quality is great and performance is up there with the best at this price point so we have to happily recommend them if they fit your listening style.