Sennheiser has just revealed a new set of headphones with an accompanying headphone amp, that much in its self may not sound all that surprising, this is the kind of thing Sennheiser does regularly. What’s so shocking about this new piece of tech is that it’ll set you back a wallet murdering $55,000! I guess it would go nicely with the ultra-high-end Sony 4K projector that launched recently. That’s crazy amounts of money for headphones, I know, but the world of audiophile hardware has always been a passion of mine, even if I am only involved to the point of people who love a good Ferrari, but can only afford a VW Golf.
So what do you get for your $55k? The headphones are the latest update of their famous Orpheus headphones, which combine electrostatic headphones with a valve pre-amp, all set into a lump of gorgeous solid marble. Even crazier than the price, the range of the response is 8Hz to 100KHz, which is significantly more than the human ear cares to listen into, but at least you know that it covers all the important (actually audible) ranges.
The original Orpheus HE90 were Sennheiser’s efforts to create “the best headphones ever made” and if the price of $12-16k was anything to go by, they must think they’ve actually done just that. The HE90 are bigger, better and far more expensive. Pushing the limits of audio technology to the very limits, as they have a sound pressure level of 100-decibel with a harmonic distortion of just 0.01%, making them one of the cleanest sounding audio products ever.
“Electrostatic headphones work by placing a static electric charge on an extremely thin film that floats between two metal plates. The voltage of an audio signal passing through the plates causes the lightweight film to oscillate and produce sound. Because the film is so light and there’s no physical contact required to get it to move, it doesn’t have its own resonances or damping issues. Thus, the device produces extremely clear sound.” said Arstechnica
Beside the Electrostatic design, you’ll find a platinum-coated diaphragm with gold electrodes, as well as a rack of solid-state valves, with MOSTFET transistors in the AMP. If anyone would like to buy one or both of my Kidneys, or at the very least, let me borrow a set of these headphones for a few weeks, I’d be very grateful.
— Sennheiser UK (@Sennheiser_UK) November 3, 2015
Would you spend this kind of money on headphones and amps? If not, what is the most you would pay?