In 1991 Sennheiser released the Orpheus, claiming they were the world's best headphones. Most serious critics agreed. Originally costing $20,000, only 300 were made, and a set in good condition today will fetch around $50,000.
Now, 25 years later, they are doing it again. A team of their best engineers were given 10 years and a virtually unlimited budget - and the result is the HE1060 / HEV1060. Yes, Orpheus was a catchier name!
...and the price? In Europe the HE1060 / HEV1060 will sell for 50,000 euros, or upwards of AU$75,000 (depending on exchange rates, local taxes etc). But they'll likely sell out, just as the previous model did.
Sennheiser HE1060 / HEV1060 features
So, what does about $75,000 worth of headphones get you?
Quite a lot. It's about the sound of course, and more about that later. But there's a lot unique about these headphones:
There are gold-vaporised ceramic electrodes with platinum vaporised diaphragms. Cables are 99.9% silver-plated OFC and the ear cups are machined from solid aluminium.
The headphone amplifier is cased in spring-loaded, damped Italian Carrara marble for its beauty and structural noise suppression. The dials are machined from brass and chrome plated, and they quietly emerge from the rock as the unit powers up.
Key technologies employed in the HE 1060 include:
Traditional valve amplification paired with Class A MOS-FET high voltage amplifiers in the ear cups, eliminating the capacitive reactance of cables.
D/A conversion via 8 internal ESS SABRE ES9018 DACs. Four channels in parallel are used for each stereo side to enhance accuracy.
Electrostatic transducers with a frequency response of 8Hz through to 100kHz.
What do they sound like?
We're yet to hear them for ourselves, but the few people around the world that have heard them and lived to tell the tale are rapturous.
The best headphone I have ever heard, by a substantial margin
Jude Mansilla - Head-Fi
Here's the full video review from the esteemed headphone site Head-Fi:
Price and availability in Australia
The Sennheiser HE 1060 / HEV 1060 will sell for 50,000 euros, or upwards of AU$75,000 (depending on exchange rates, local taxes etc). Sennheiser are yet to announce how many will be produced, and if Australia will get any stock at all.
We'll keep our ears open, and will keep you informed. Watch this space, subscribe to our newsletter or follow us on Facebook to keep in the loop!
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