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What it’s like listening to a $50,000 pair of headphones

January 8th, 2016 at 6:15 PM
CES 2016 Sennheiser Orpheus Headphones

You may think you’ve got the best headphones in the world. But there’s a good chance that they don’t stack up against the new headphones developed by Sennheiser that cost $50,000 and that were on display this year at CES 2016. Popular tech YouTuber Jonathan Morrison this week posted a video of himself and fellow YouTubers Marques Brownlee and Austin Evans trying out these $50,000 headphones and it sounds like they live up to the hype, even if none of them were really willing to lay down the money needed to actually buy them.

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So what exactly makes these headphones worth $50,000? Here are some tidbits from Sennheiser’s website:

  • “The Orpheus is the first electrostatic headphone with a Cool Class A MOS-FET high voltage amplifier integrated into the ear cups.”
  • “Its amplifier sits on a housing crafted from glass, and a solid block of Carrara marble. This luxurious natural stone—the type made famous by Michelangelo’s Renaissance sculptures—lends beauty but also prevents structure-borne noise.”
  • “2.4-micrometer platinum-vaporised diaphragms are employed as their size was shown by Sennheiser’s research to deliver optimal sound reproduction.”
  • “Outstanding electrical and acoustical performance is ensured through gold-vaporised ceramic transducers, while 99.9 % silver-plated OFC cables are used for optimal conductivity.”

You get the idea. These headphones belong in a museum, not on your head.

Nonetheless, Sennheiser did take them out of their case and let Morrison and friends listen to them. Given their immense value, I was personally surprised that they used the Eagles’ “Hotel California” as the sample music — really, with headphones like this I expect some Mahler or at least some John Coltrane.

But no matter: The YouTubers were very impressed by what they heard. Some choice quotes from the video:

  • “I’m wrecked.”
  • “It’s like the audio gods are licking my ears.”
  • “OK, so that’s what music sounds like.”

So… it sounds like they’re pretty good.

Check out the whole video below.

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