With over 10 years of development, an unlimited approach and an end goal to produce the world's greatest headphone, Sennheiser have announced the Orpheus' successor.
A Brief History
In 1991, Sennheiser released a headphone to not only better all other headphones on the market, but truly push the boundaries of what even Sennheiser itself thought possible. The HE90 and HEV90 (headphones and headphone amp respectively) were an electrostatic design made from illustrious materials and featured a very beefy tube based headphone amplifier
A Challenge Unlike Any Other
People who heard the original system will often say there is still nothing, after 25 years, that competes with the original HE90 HEV90 system. Despite in recent years with the explosive growth of high end headphones, even the most lavish systems don't quite compare. So Sennheiser was presented with a challenge; It had no main nemesis to compete with except it's own.
70 Years of Headphones
So to mark Sennheiser's 70th birthday, they have officially unveiled the Sennheiser Orpheus HE1060 and HEV1060 Electrostatic headphone and amplifier combo. Sennheiser's marketing guru's really say it better than I do, so;
"The new Orpheus surpasses every other headphone system in the world by offering the ultimate in reproduction precision, exceptional spatiality and a frequency response that extends far beyond the range of human hearing ability. “It is able to deceive our senses in a completely unique way, creating the perfect illusion of being directly immersed in the sound,” explained Daniel Sennheiser. Even the slightest nuances of the music become audible. Alongside star producer Steve Levine, Grammy award-winner Gregory Porter was one of the first to be invited to an exclusive listening trial. “When I record my own music, I always try to convey my emotions. I don’t know how exactly, but these headphones really do succeed in getting those emotions across,” said the jazz musician, describing his listening experience with the Orpheus."
Functionally the Orpheus HEV1060 features both Balanced and Single Ended Input as well as Pass Through, a USB, Coaxial and Toslink input (featuring Sabre32 9018s) and a soiree of tubes.
Unfortunately, with a no cost too high approach to designing what can only be the greatest headphones ever built, you're not going to be picking up a pair from your local discount store. The pricing has been announced to be at €55,000.
You can read more about them on Head-Fi which also features a good video of impressions.