With no shortage of fanfare, Sennheiser has announced a new version of its uber-high-end electrostatic headphone system, the Orpheus, first introduced back in 1990. The new Orpheus system pairs over-the-ear electrostatic headphones with an amplification system that uses eight vacuum tubes in a patent-pending enclosure consisting of quartz-glass bulbs. Sennheiser lists the Orpheus’ frequency response at 8 hertz to more than 100 kilohertz, and the system uses the ESS SABRE ES9018 digital-to-analog converter chip. Among the high-end refinements are the amplifer’s marble housing and ear cushions made of genuine leather. The Orpheus system is hand-crafted in Germany and will sell for roughly $54,429 U.S. dollars.
They are the best headphones in the world: with the successor to the legendary Orpheus, Sennheiser is presenting new high-end headphones that offer an unprecedented audio experience. The electrostatic headphone system combines to perfection the most innovative technology with carefully selected, luxurious materials and highest quality craftsmanship. A masterpiece that has its price: the high-end headphones, which will be hand-crafted in Germany from next year onwards, will cost around € 50,000.
Building high-end headphones which sound so brilliant that you feel that you are in a concert hall; creating acoustics that surpass anything that has been heard before: this has always been Sennheiser’s vision. And in 1990/1991, the audio specialist achieved precisely that: Sennheiser took the audio world by storm with an engineering masterpiece that exceeded all previous ideas about the performance limitations of headphones. The product became an icon of the audio industry and was recognized as the best headphones in the world – until now. Almost 25 years later, Sennheiser is now opening up a new chapter in audio history with the successor, one that shares its famous name: “With the new Orpheus, we once again push the boundaries and show that we can repeatedly set new benchmarks in excellence and with that shape the future of the audio world,” said Sennheiser CEO Daniel Sennheiser.
A unique sound experience based on technical excellence
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.
To make this possible, a team of Sennheiser experts spent almost a decade continuously working against the limits of what is technically possible – and once again created the best headphones in the world. The Orpheus uses an innovative amplifier concept that combines to perfection the advantages of a tube amplifier with those of a transistor amplifier. “I am very proud of this absolutely exceptional product,” said Sennheiser CEO Dr. Andreas Sennheiser. “The Orpheus stands for the innovative power of our company and our joint commitment to the pursuit of perfect sound.”
The unique Orpheus experience begins even before you start listening. When the system is inactive, the components are all retracted and the Orpheus has the serene beauty of a sculpture. Gently pushing the on/off-volume control brings the sculpture to life: the control elements, each of which are crafted from a single piece of brass and then plated with chrome, slowly extend from the marble housing, before the vacuum tubes enclosed in quartz glass bulbs rise from the base and start to glow. Finally, a glass cover is raised, allowing the headphones with ear cups finished in genuine leather to be removed.
The selection of all materials consequently supports the acoustic excellence of this milestone product. Each of the more than 6,000 components was meticulously chosen. To ensure an outstanding acoustic performance, the audio specialist used exclusive components such as gold-vaporized ceramic electrodes and platinum-vaporized diaphragms. The marble that Sennheiser chose for the amplifier housing comes from Carrara in Italy and is the same type of marble that Michelangelo used to create his sculptures. “The properties of the marble optimally protect the amplifier’s core and its unique optics and structure turns each Orpheus into an individual work of art,” said Maurice Quarr, Director of Select & Audiophile at Sennheiser.
The design of the Orpheus follows the principle of pushing the boundaries of what is possible in order to visualize Sennheiser’s ambition of creating perfection in every detail. “Due to its technical superiority, the Orpheus has no need for an exaggerated design. Its beauty lies in its reduction to what is essential,” explained Oliver Berger, Head of Global Design Management at Sennheiser.
To immerse yourself in the unique world of the Orpheus, please visit www.sennheiser-reshapingexcellence.com. You can watch the full interview with Gregory Porter by clicking the following link: www.sennheiser.com/bluestage.
• Sennheiser Debuts New HD 400 Series Headphones at HomeTheaterReview.com.
• Sennheiser RS 175 Wireless Over-the-Ear Headphones Reviewed at HomeTheaterReview.com.