Sennheiser Orpheus He 1 – World’s Most expensive headphone

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As special as this headphone is, I found it unfair for me to speak only of my thoughts. I believe impression from all my teammates compiled will give you more insight to what the Orpheus is all about. Before you go watch the video though, I would like to spoil it to you that what we all say have one thing in common and that is something close to a concert experience or even better. Not one but six people describing their concert-like experience, here we go:

Video review here

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Now that you watched that video, I am sure there are people that are interested hearing about more of my opinion as a reviewer.

HISTORY 

The He 1 is a successor of the original sennheiser orhpeus which sennheiser announced its existence in 1991.

BUILD QUALITY

The amplifier housing is made from solid block of Carrara marble. Not only beautiful but also prevents structure-borne noise. The control dial is milled from a single piece of brass before being plated with chrome.

Being the first electrostatic headphone with a Cool Class A MOST-FET high voltage amplifier integrated into the earcups and 2.4 micrometer platinum-vaporized diaphragms, it delivers outstanding electrical and acoustical performance. The cable is also 99.9 percent silver plated OFC for optimal conductivity.

A patent pending circuit design. Its vacuum tubes with high quality quartz bulbs that protect against air-borne noise this state-of-the-art amplifier delivers ultra-high impulse fidelity at an ultra-low distortion level. Uses the 8 internal DACs of the ESS SABRE ES9018. Four channels in parallel are used for each stereo side to enhance accuracy and decrease distortion and noise level.

It came to me as a surprise as to why sennheiser chose the off the shelf Sabre dac in such an expensive and premium design. However, we all know that if it was integrated to perfection, it can very well be the best with its whipping number of 8 sabre dacs.

Headphone felt heavy but comfortable. I did not feel like it was a trade off at all, considering the well distributed weight on the headband.

SOUND QUALITY

Quite honestly, I have never heard anything close to what these headphone can do as of yet. The most comparable will be the HD800s and HD800 in sound signature and that is a BIG understatement. I would hopefully enter the world of electrostatic headphones and have something to compare the he 1 with.

Low Frequencies: The low frequencies were impactful that extended very well. The sub bass was very present but did not color the rest of the frequencies at all. Quite remarkably, I felt like I was wearing a bass canon-type headphone and a midcentric headphone and high focused headphone all at one simultaneously. The bass is somewhat further than other headphones I own or have reviewed but with more impact, control and clarity. Overall, I want to almost say these are warm sounding headphone but I can’t as it is very different type of warmth with absolute clarity and transparency.

Mid Frequencies:  Every instrument outstandingly produced realistically. If you close yours eyes for a minute and forget the fact you are listening to a headphone, it is as if the artist himself is playing just for you, right in front of you. Every strum, every lip smack, and breathing can be heard and comes to you as a surprise that you are wearing headphones when you open your eyes. You tend to look back or left and right to see if that sound really came from the headphones themselves or someone was saying something or hit something by accident beside you. When you replay that section of the music, you hear the same thing and feel amazed as to how you heard new things that you’ve never heard before in your system that you thought was “good enough.” Male and female vocals sound realistic and natural, bringing you that perfect vocal presence in what you would expect from a vocal centered headphone. But again… nothing else fades even though the vocals are singing right into your ears.

High Frequencies: Quite remarkably the most outstanding trebles I’ve ever heard. with everything again, being realistic as they can get. Also one thing to note other than the fact these are absolutely detailed headphones, is that vocal sibilance still exists in these headphone (5 to 8khz area) but it is produced in a way that is not bothersome but more realistic. What I mean is, on other headphones this becomes an annoyance but in the He 1, it felt as if I was at a concert. If you have ever been to a concert, vocal sibilance naturally occurs as artists articulate more than when they record on a pop filter (and other studio equipment). However, not many headphone can produce this vocal sibilance naturally and therefore becomes an annoyance. On the He 1, however, it is captured just the perfect amount as if you are at a concert.

Soundstage and Imaging: Soundstage is the largest I’ve heard so far, resembling that of speakers and imaging does not fade nor become indistinct in some corners of the music. Everything is well balanced and placed. You do not need to really concentrate to know where a certain instrument is coming from as it will come at you weather you like it or not. Quite a remarkable experience.

Below are all the photos: 

 

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