You read that headline right, a pair of headphones and a custom amp that costs more than the median annual family income in the U.S. However, it’s not just the materials that these are made from; Carrara marble, gold-vaporized ceramic electrodes, and platinum vaporized diaphragms. This version of the Orpheus HE90 is an upgrade to the original Orpheus HE90 (same name), created with the specific intention to be the best pair of headphones in the world. In fact, even after all these years, these “legendary headphones still remain the ultimate benchmark for audiophile listening and for all high-end models.” They continue to top the “best headphone” lists online, and truly embody the extreme limits of what technology makes possible in audio innovation.
Sennheiser basically set out to create the best set of headphones possible, irrespective of cost. All the precious materials they use are not just for decoration, each one serves a specific purpose based on the properties necessary for that component. From the weight of the marble knobs, to the chrome plated single piece of brass that comprises the amplifier controls, to the eight quartz-encased vacuum tubes. The set is so good, that today’s smart phones cannot produce the sound quality necessary to enjoy its full range.
Watch the tubes rise from the base and glow to see the difference in how they work compared to *cough* peasant *cough* headphones. The Sennheiser HE90 are electrostatic, meaning they create sound by running a static charge on a delicate film that sits between two metal plates. This film, that weighs less than the air around it, then oscillates and creates the incredible range and clarity of sound unparalleled in the world today. For the audiophiles out there; the ESS SABRE ES9018 chip and 8 internal DACs have a sampling rate of 384 kHz. The range on the HE90 is 8 Hz to more than 100 kHz (that’s more than a human can hear) and it comes in at 0.01% at a bone rattling 1 kHz and 100 decibels.
The Sennheiser Orpheus HE90 headphones will launch mid 2016 with an expected 6000 pairs, compared to 300 of the original. They are hand-crafted in Germany and will set you back the black market price of a kidney and liver – uh, I mean, who knows what that would cost…
Anyway, start saving now.