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Sennheiser teases beautiful new mystery headphone and amplifier

Richard Easton
28 Aug 2015
Sennheiser mystery headphones and amplifier
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The German audio company celebrated its 70th anniversary by taking the wraps off a mysterious new headphone and amplifier

Sennheiser, the iconic German audio brand, has already gathered a considerable amount of accolades in its 70 years. It devised the first wireless microphone and brought to market the world's first open headphones, to name but a few landmark achievements. One that could possibly top them all, at least in pure lavishness, was its Orpheus HE-90 and corresponding HEV90 tube amplifier.

So the story goes, Sennheiser tasked its engineers to create the 'world's greatest headphones' regardless of the cost. From that unenviable task the Orpheus was born and with a price that would make even an audiophile's eyes water. Back when they were first released in the early '90s they were priced at around $16,000 and were only released in limited quantities. You'll expect to pay at least double that today.

Sennheiser mystery headphones and amplifier close up

To celebrate its 70th anniversary, Sennheiser took the wraps off a new set of headphones at a celebratory concert at Central Hall Westminster with performances from the Junge Deutsche Philharmonie and British artist, Imogen Heap, and hosted by Sennheiser's two CEOs, Dr. Andreas and Daniel Sennheiser. The concert was also recorded in Sennheiser's new 3D audio format that the company is set to reveal. The new standard is supposedly able to work with both speakers and binaural headphones.

In truth, not a lot was revealed on the new mystery headphones, save for a good look at the design and a few tantalising morsels on its specifications. I unfortunately couldn't actually try them out. The amplifier is crafted from Carrara marble, the same material supposedly used by Michelangelo for his famous sculptures. The amplifier houses platinum-vaporized, 2.4 micrometer diaphragms. The headphones will support a staggering frequency range of 8Hz to 100,000kHz.

This is beyond the hearing capabilities of the human ear, so in theory nothing will be missed. According to Dr. Andreas Sennheiser, joint CEO of Sennheiser, you'll need to have the combined hearing capabilities of an elephant and a bat to hear the full frequency range of the headphones. The presentation from the headphone and amplifier package is a sight to behold. A button causes the headphone case to open up and the tube amps to rise up out of their housing and illuminate. According to Daniel Sennheiser, “There is much more to come and we are looking forward to revealing more information over the coming weeks."

Dr. Andreas and Daniel Sennheiser pose with mystery headphones

With no details on even a name, let alone a price, revealed I was left immediately wanting to know more and to take the new headphones for a test. Fortunately, Sennheiser promises more details will be revealed over the coming weeks. I had the fortune of trying the Orpheus HE-90 last year and the experience was almost ethereal. Listening to a Santana record, it at times felt as though the artist was in the room.

If these new headphones can achieve anywhere near the same levels of the Orpheus it will be an achievement but more will be need to be known around whether the average person can even afford a pair. These at least feel like the spiritual successor to the legendary Orpheus, so I'm excited for the big reveal. Expect to hear more in the coming weeks from the Sennheiser Reshaping Excellent website.

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