Versonix hit the CanJam show floor with a bit of curveball in its pocket. They came prepared to show off their new Versonix branded headphones, but the centerpiece of the show presentation was really their out-of-the-box electrostatic hybrid driver.
The real beauty of a hybrid design (for electrostatic executions) is its ability to shed the need for extraneous (and pricy) task-specific amplification and stick with the old 1/4″ jack that we all know and love.
In this case a crossover is built directly into the driver structure to separate the highs to the super tweeter eltrostatic panel and the lows to a dynamic driver. The crossover point for the models on hand varied between 2k-4k, depending on the headphone. The Verisonix company is prepared to launch a few headphones under their namesake, starting with N100b ($169) and the i502c cherry wood ($199) and progressing up to the N500 and N501 ($499 each). The two entry level headphones feature a mylar material base for the dynamic side of things, while the 500s offer a paper composite in that role.
The choice of ear cup material in this case is wood with the exception of the N100b, which swaps out the whole grain goodness for less expensive materials that often accompany a step down in cost. Its hard not to overlook the potential for a massive price value here considering the closest competitor is the probably the hybrid EnigmAcoustics Dharma D1000 at $1,190 and also the recent release of the [Shure SKE1500 Electrostatic IEM] at $3k. Electrostatic technology hasn’t come cheap to personal audio, well, ever.
All this and the driver company has yet to fully flush out and exclusive destiny for the product. It has also optioned its hybrid magic into another brand called Mitchell and Johnson which they also had on display on the show floor. The whole enchilada is an interesting development against the backdrop of electrostatic tech value. While I’m sure there are many companies worldwide shifting through development of varying stages of the exotic driver technology, the evolution of its implementation is fascinating scene worth keeping an eye on. More to come on this front, no doubt.