Things move rapidly in the audio equipment scene and the rapid adoption of planar magnetic drivers in both in-ear monitors and headphones is an indication of this. With that said, in today’s review, I’m testing the Gold Planar GL600 planar magnetic headphones. Coming in at under $200, the GL600 has a premium all-metal construction and proprietary Nano-Membrane 66mm, planar magnetic diaphragm driver.
Disclaimer:This sample was provided for the purpose of an honest review. All observations and opinions here are my own based on my experience with the product.
Gold Planar GL600 Review
Impressive build quality
Fully articulating earcups
Engaging bass performance
Value for money
Earcups may be small for larger ears
Package and Accessories
The GL600 comes in a standard black box with a matte finish. Inside are the headphones seated in a satin-covered foam insert. Apart from the headphones you get a cable and a 3.5mm-6.35mm adapter.
Build Quality and Design
This was a real surprise. The build quality of the Gold Planar GL600 is quite frankly, superb for a headphone at this price point. They have an all-metal construction that feels substantially robust and durable. In terms of appearance, I’d say they have a utilitarian aesthetic that should appeal to the audiophile crowd.
The spring steel frame forms the basis of the construction along with a padded, pleather suspension headband. The open-backed earcups swivel 360° freely so they can sit flat around your neck or on a table. There is no visible branding or markings on the headphone anywhere and overall, I really like the way these are put together.
Comfort and Noise Isolation
Because the earcups swivel forward and back and pivot up and down, the headphones naturally conform to the shape of your head. However, I found the clamping force to be excessive which was causing me severe discomfort after a relatively short time. I ended up bending the corners of the frame slightly to alleviate some pressure which made a big difference.
Having said that, I do still get hotspots after a while due to the relatively shallow earcups but I can wear them for a couple of hours before it gets intolerable.
Noise isolation is almost non-existent which is always the case with open-back headphones. If you normally use your headphones in a noisy environment then these might not be the best choice for you.
The included cable is a 1.5 meter long fabric braided 6N OFC 4-core cable. It’s lightweight, flexible and has minimal microphonics. It has a straight 3.5mm plug and comes with a threaded 6.35mm adapter. The Y-split is a light plastic material and is accompanied by a rubber cable cinch. At the top end it has dual 2.5mm connectors.
While the connectors do have an L and R marking for left and right respectively, the markings are quite difficult to see. Normally this wouldn’t be an issue but because there are no indicators on the actual headphones, you need to rely on the cable to determine the left and right sides.
The general sound signature of the Gold Planar GL600 is warm and fairly dark. There is an emphasis on the lower frequencies, a thick midrange and a reasonably soft treble response. Overall clarity is mediocre, as is the resolution and detail retrieval.
The bass is one of the better aspects of the GL600’s sound. Mid-bass is quite punchy and delivers with impact but it feels a bit slow for a planar driver due to a blunted attack. It’s fairly light in terms of quantity and sits roughly in line with the midrange.
There is reasonably good bass extension but sub-bass notes don’t have much authority. The GL600 delivers a light sub-bass tone rather than any visceral type of rumble. For the most part, it’s pretty decent though, especially in the context of the GL600’s price.
There’s a palpable veil over the midrange, caused by a lack of clarity which results in a dark presentation. In addition, an upper midrange lift adds some presence but can make vocals sound a bit shouty and uneven. The mids are rich with rounded notes and thickness that permeates the overall performance.
The treble is rather soft, making it non-fatiguing and great for people who are treble-sensitive. But as a result, it’s not the most detailed or precise. A dull upper treble caused by high-frequency roll-off means there’s no sparkle up top and limited extension.
On a more positive note, the GL600 is never sibilant, sharp or overly bright. In fact, I quite like this type of treble tuning but in this case, it’s positioned behind the midrange and struggles to gain a foothold.
For an open-back headphone, the soundstage feels rather intimate and small in dimensions. It’s not an open or airy stage and this is mostly caused by the forwardness of the midrange and lack of treble openness.
There is a lot to like about the Gold Planar GL600. It has a beautiful, immaculate build quality that’s rare for a headphone in this price range. Although the sound quality is a bit average I think this affordable planar magnetic offering will still be appealing to many enthusiasts on a budget. I look forward to seeing what Gold Planar does next.