New headphone flagships are fun. Fun to talk about, fun to listen to. The biggest granddaddy of them all in this hobby has always been the Sennheiser Orpheus, which originally debuted at an then-unheard of $16k. It subsequently rose to be the most elusive collectors item of all time, often begging more than its original price tag for pristine samples.
In a very hollywood move, Sennheiser has decided that the old bird was due for a “reimagining”, and now we are witness to a new, updated Orpheus ($55k). Like the original, the headphone utilizes electrostatic technology and includes a matching headphone and amplifier in the package. As a nod to the changing winds of tech, this time around the amp includes a digital section with the popular ESS SABRE 9018 chipset acting as the brains of the operation. Connections include balanced inputs and digital optical, coaxial and USB.
The package is not without its luxury bells and whistles. From the press release:
“When the on/off-volume control is pressed, the controls at the front slowly extend from the amplifier housing, before the vacuum tubes with their quartz glass bulbs rise from the base and start to glow. Finally, a glass cover is automatically raised, allowing the headphones to be removed. “Our aim was to provide a sensual experience by using highest quality materials,” said Axel Grell.
The marble that Sennheiser chose for the amplifier housing comes from Carrara in Italy and is the same type of marble that Michelangelo used to create his sculptures. The rotary switches for the source and the volume controls are milled from a single piece of brass and chromium-plated.”
Clearly Sennheiser’s aim was to bring a true no-hold-barred product to market to follow up the 25 year gap from the last iteration. The new flagship incorporates platinum-vaporized diaphragms and gold-vaporized ceramic electrodes which receive their power from patented high impulse amps also located inside the headphone housing. The technique claims a 200% boost in efficiency compared to other electrostats currently on the market.
Expect the new behemoth to hit the market around mid 2016.
You can check out more of the fine details and promotional syntax on the launch site here: