back to article Sennheiser announces €50,000 headphones (we checked, no typos)

Sennheiser has announced a new pair of headphones it says will cost “around €50,000” (£35,314 or US$54,279). The forthcoming “Orpheus” model boasts silver-plated copper cable and “gold-vaporized ceramic electrodes and platinum-vaporized diaphragms … exactly 2.4 µ thick, the result of extensive research that shows that any …

  1. Your alien overlord - fear me

    will cost “around €50,000” (£35,886 or US$155,165). USD55,165 surely or are you involved in some forex dodgy dealing syndicate?

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      "We checked, no typos" proclaimed the headline to this article. Which of course means that there will be a typo.

      There is probably a law which describes this phenomenon, likely named after a cousin of Mr Sod.

      1. jaywin

        Not Mr Sod, but similar - Muphry's Law. According to Wiki - "If you write anything criticizing editing or proofreading, there will be a fault of some kind in what you have written."

        1. Dave 126 Silver badge

          Muphrey - haha, not a cousin of Murphey, but a typo of him... still, what is the difference between cousins other than copying errors (in the DNA of their forebears?)

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            > still, what is the difference between cousins other than copying errors

            > (in the DNA of their forebears?)

            I'd point you at a basic primer on how genetic inhertitance works but I suspect it would be futile..

            1. Dave 126 Silver badge

              >I'd point you at a basic primer on how genetic inheritance works but I suspect it would be futile..

              Or, rather, redundant.

              I was attempting to highlight the wit of the editor who derived Muphy's Law from Murphey's Law, and then deriving my own humour from drawing parallels with typos and the random mutation (which is then naturally selected) of DNA - as a call back to the question of whose cousin is it? viz an individual could be a cousin of the Rev Sod, Dr Murphey and Mr Muphy.

              Like I said, it was an attempt at humour, but evidently not a success! : )

          2. staggers

            And anyway, it's Murphy', not 'Murphey'.

        2. AC Wilson

          Not Mr Sod...

          I see what you dood there...

    2. James Micallef Silver badge
      WTF?

      "The accompanying amplifier... "

      So is the 50 Gs for headphones only or for headphones+amplifier?

      And if it's only for the headphones, then what has Carrara marble got to do with the price, since it's the amp that's made from Carrara marble, not the phones??

      1. Dave 126 Silver badge

        50,000 Euros for the [Headphones+Amplifier]. It is likely that they have to be used together.

  2. Adam 1

    Wouldn't this fall under technology exchange rates? Pretty sure that US$155,165 will translate to £155,165.

    1. Simon Sharwood, Reg APAC Editor (Written by Reg staff)

      As soon as I put the "no typos" in the headline I knew I would miss a typo somewhere else. And so it came to pass ...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Don't worry, that's not the only one: "2.4 µ thick", I don't know how thick a µ is, unless you actually meant µm.

  3. ST Silver badge
    WTF?

    EUR €50,000 == USD $155,165

    how much is that in linguini?

    1. msknight

      Re: EUR €50,000 == USD $155,165

      A Creosote of linguini?

      ...which is one Waffer Think Mint short of red wallpaper?

      1. Baskitcaise

        Re: EUR €50,000 == USD $155,165

        ...which is one Waffer Think Mint short of red wallpaper?

        Think you might of meant thin?

        1. msknight

          Re: EUR €50,000 == USD $155,165

          'Tis the season for typos. Thought I'd stay relevant :-)

  4. Christian Berger

    OK... tube amplifiers

    Seriously that's what actually debunks it. It's not precision device, but instead a "musical instrument". That's not bad by itself, but you have to keep in mind that it's obviously made to change the sound in a certain way instead of trying to give you an as good as possible representation of what's actually there.

    That's BTW why studios typically use headphones in the range of 100-300 Euros.

    1. msknight

      Re: OK... tube amplifiers

      No, what will actually debunk the whole thing, is that some fucking pillock will use a tatty MP3 player as a source.

      1. wolfetone Silver badge

        Re: OK... tube amplifiers

        "No, what will actually debunk the whole thing, is that some fucking pillock will use a tatty MP3 player as a source."

        I remember the days when MP3 players were 32MB and you had to compress the shit out of the music files in order to get maybe two albums on one device.

        However, most of the chavs on the bus in my yoof decided to take things a step further and play really REALLY badly compressed music out loud on their mobile phones on the bus. In since transpires that the music they played was actually crap to begin with, so the reduction in quality didn't affect the music too much.

        1. msknight

          Re: OK... tube amplifiers

          Ok - so loads of money to listen to shit music. They might as well cut out the middleman and slap some smelly brown stuff in their ears then. It would even have additional olfactory entertainment.

          1. thomas k

            Re: shit music

            You mean, like Richard Strauss or Andrew Lloyd-Weber?

            1. Francis Vaughan

              Re: shit music

              I really hope you mean Johann Strauss and the other members of his family. Richard Strauss has no relationship to them, and did not compose sickly sweet waltzes and dance music for polite Viennese society. Richard Strauss wrote seriously good powerful music. Sunrise from Also sprach Zarathustra is of course very well known from 2001. But Salomé, Electra, his Last Four Songs - just to pick a few high points. Richard Strauss was a giant.

              1. Jon Massey

                Re: shit music

                2001? More like 1896!

                1. User McUser
                  Headmaster

                  Re: shit music

                  @Jon Massey - In addition to being a year on the Gregorian calendar, the number "2001" is also the commonly used short-hand title of a film produced in 1968, the full title of which is "2001: A Space Odyssey." The first part of the composition "Also Sprach Zarathustra" features prominently in the film's first act.

                  1. msknight
                    Joke

                    Re: shit music

                    El Reg... can we have a version of the pedantic grammar nazzi alert for the audible arts as well as the literary ones please?

                    I put forward the suggestion of an icon formed from a still of one of Lindsey Stirling's performances, probably, "Shadows," and the legend, "Micro Adjustment In Tone Alert."

  5. Dave 126 Silver badge

    The Orpheus HE90s date from the early nineties, not 2013 (that is when Gizmodo reviewed them, which might explain the error)

    Yeah, they cost £16,000, but have sold for several times that since on eBay, so Sennheiser know there is a market for these new ones.

  6. ChrisJC

    Valves?!

    Valves != High Fidelity.

    Valves == Warm distorted sound.

    If you like the look and the distortion, and have the cash, why not. Just don't tell me they are HiFi.

    Chris.

    1. Hans Neeson-Bumpsadese Silver badge

      Re: Valves?!

      <quote>Valves == Warm distorted sound.</quote>

      True, that what made a certain Dr Marshall so successful, but I can get a great clean tone on my tube-based guitar amps as well.

      That said, I agree with the general sentiment, that valves' selling point is quality of tone (subjective) rather than fidelity (more scientific)

  7. bryces666

    1%?

    Don't kid yourself, the money is concentrated finer than that. More like the 0.0001%.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: 1%?

      Don't kid yourself, the money is concentrated finer than that. More like the 0.0001%

      You're not far off. According to the 2014 Wealth X report, the Ultra High Net Worth (UHNW) segment was 0.004% of the global population.

      Having said that, you don't need to be in the UHNW band to buy this. I know enough City wbankers who would buy this just to show they have money which, if you have read comments under previous articles, is more an indication their richness is pretend or at best new, as really rich people don't have a need to show off - rather the opposite.

      1. James Micallef Silver badge

        Re: 1%?

        " an indication their richness is pretend or at best new"

        'Net worth' is very different from 'richness' - being rich for me means having enough income from non-employment sources to at least cover all your expenses. A city banker making $1M a year with mortgage, loan repayments, lifestyle expenses etc of $1M a year is just a hamster on a (very expensive) treadmill, stop 'running' and they would go bankrupt in a few months.

      2. Jedit
        Pint

        " I know enough City wbankers who would buy this just to show they have money"

        Had money, surely?

  8. This post has been deleted by its author

    1. Badvok

      Check out Beyerdynamic's range, I have the DT770 Pros and they are the most comfortable headphones I have ever worn even when wearing glasses.

    2. Francis Vaughan

      One of the most common studio headphones is the Sony MDR 7506. Whilst not the absolute best sounding, or the cheapest, they are pretty good, and a known good standard that is still made, robust, and has a service backup via Sony's pro distribution and service network.

      But for artists to monitor sound as they perform there are many other phones commonly used. One of the key points about these is that they don't leak sound back into the recording.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Might have been the Sennheiser HD414 which are sadly no longer made. They were not just good, they were also pretty close to indestructible. If someone stood on the cable the earpiece would just come off the head bracket so you just pushed it back on and continued working. The on-ear foam also made it very light and comfortable to wear for a long time.

      I think they have a replacement model, but I haven't done studio work in ages so my knowledge is not that current.

  9. harmjschoonhoven

    Hand-crafted in Germany

    For the price of one Sennheiser Orpheus you can get a front-row subscription to the Berliner Philharmoniker for two persons for the next 63 years.

    1. Grikath

      Re: Hand-crafted in Germany

      yeah, but the audiophiles will claim to be able to hear where the architects messed up on the acoustics, the position/quality/type of the mics, the suboptimal settings of the..

      etc...

      Let them stew in their damned cellars, and not bother innocent bystanders.

      1. Dave 126 Silver badge

        Re: Hand-crafted in Germany

        In the early eighties, when Walkmans were a new thing, the front cover of a UK comic book the Beano had a lad walking along with his headphones... then he spots Richie Rich strolling down the street with some hi-fi speakers, suspended from a helicopter, on each side of his head. I can't the picture on-line, but this one amuses me (and if I post it here I can find it again for the next Smart Watch article):

        http://flickrhivemind.net/blackmagic.cgi?id=7160108497&url=http%3A%2F%2Fflickrhivemind.net%2FTags%2Frichkid%2FTimeline%3Fsearch_type%3DTags%3Btextinput%3Drichkid%3Bphoto_type%3D250%3Bmethod%3DGET%3Bnoform%3Dt%3Bsort%3DDate%2520Taken%252C%2520new%2520first%23pic7160108497&user=&flickrurl=http://www.flickr.com/photos/59414209@N00/7160108497

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Hand-crafted in Germany

        That must be their comfortable soundproofed cellars then...

        Oh wait. If they were that good accoustically then they wouldn't need these things then?

        I suppose there are a few (c)Rap artistes out there who will go for the bling factor and listen to their tunes with these before heading off to their club in their Baby Bentley (gold plated naturally)

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Hand-crafted in Germany

          Wait until they get caught fixing the test figures with some stealth software that detects when tones are being played and shuts down most of the frequencies so it only emits what's being tested

    2. This post has been deleted by its author

      1. nijam

        Re: Hand-crafted in Germany

        > ...which would have been even better before the death of Karajan

        Not everyone will agree with that, I think. Karajan's conducting divides opinion (aren't you impressed how polite I'm being?)

    3. Stoneshop Silver badge

      Re: Hand-crafted in Germany

      you can get a front-row subscription to the Berliner Philharmoniker

      Do they play Philip Glass? Kraftwerk? Terje Rypdal? And, even more importantly, do they play it when I feel like listening?

      Indeed, didn't think so.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I'll take two - one for each ear natch.

    1. Bloakey1

      "I'll take two - one for each ear natch."

      You want one for your snatch?

      Think of all those lovely curvy analogue waves and not those nasty angular digital jobbies.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Tube Amp

    The previous comments about tube amps may be true for tube amps for low impedance devices (like speakers and, up to a point, regular dynamic headphones). Because these tube amps usually require an output transformer, which is providing a major contribution to the 'tube sound'. At least as long as you run the amp in the linear region of the tubes.

    However, according to the pics and el reg's description, these aren't dynamic headphones but electrostats. Which usually run at a few thousand volts and negligible currents. If you used a transistor amp, you'd need an output transformer in order to provide the high voltage. Or you can use a tube amp, without an output transformer, and get a better fidelity.

    1. frank ly

      Re: Tube Amp

      Looking at the size of those valves, they are not running at a few thousand volts. So, there is probably still a transformer tucked away in there if the headphones really do need that high a drive voltage.

      1. Dave 126 Silver badge

        Re: Tube Amp

        Seems @frank ly's guess is correct, since the product page makes mention of " the Orpheus is the first electrostatic headphone with a Cool Class A MOS-FET high voltage amplifier integrated into the ear cups. ".

        Other techie stuff from the page:

        "it also accepts high-resolution PCM and DSD data. Music data is converted to analogue signals using 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."

        I tried to look at the ESS website, but all I got was the message "Waiting for available socket". Many of us feel like that from time to time, but we don't feel the need to broadcast it over the web.

      2. Stoneshop Silver badge

        Re: Tube Amp

        Electrostats need a) a static voltage of up to a couple kV and b) a signal voltage of up to maybe a few 100V (I have a pair of electrostatic tweeters from a Grundig valve radio that do allright on 20..30V signal with 200V DC bias). Requirements for electrostatic headphones would probably be closer to the latter than the former, so little need for transformers. Plus, transformers can work quite OK with high-impedance loads such as electrostats anyway.

      3. Tom 7 Silver badge

        Re: Tube Amp

        I doubt there's a transformer in there. For electrostatic headphones you'd only need 300V a side - the sound goes straight into your ear so there's no square law to worry about and 1/2w will push you eardrums together in the middle.

        The thing is it wont be long before you get an annoying hiss from things that get into them and cause low level discharge. I get that in my electrostatics and its OK if you play music much louder than the hiss but loud music really requires physical bass so its quite shit in headphones.

        Mind you most sennheiser headphones are disappointing for the price.

        1. AndyS

          Re: Tube Amp

          Interesting stuff, I hadn't come across electrostatic speakers before. But can you expand on this?

          "the sound goes straight into your ear so there's no square law to worry about"

          From Wikipedia, it looks like the electrostatic bit is simply a different way of generating a moving diaphragm, which creates the sound. So, from the diaphragm to your ear drum the same physics apply. Or am I missing something?

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Tube Amp

            Inverse square law only applies to the 'far field approximation', i.e. when you're sufficiently far away from the source that you can approach it as a point source. With electrostats, you usually have large diaphragm (look at the picture) that's moving without too much bending, so the distance between the sound source and your eardrums is, at the most, at the same magnitude as the source size. Which means you can't use the far field approximation and things become real nasty (if you want to do it exactly).

          2. Stoneshop Silver badge
            Boffin

            Re: Tube Amp

            "the sound goes straight into your ear so there's no square law to worry about"

            Inverse square law applies to the amount of (acoustic) energy that reaches the sensor (your ears) from the source (speaker/headphones). It also requires the source to be viewed as a point, which applies if the distance is at least an order of magnitude larger than the size of the source. As the area the wavefront covers increases with the square of the distance between source and sensor, the wavefront energy per unit area (and with it, the sound pressure level) decreases with the square of the distance. With a close-field system like sealed heaphones, the wavefront doesn't spread out like it does in a system where the inverse square law would apply.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    Sigh....

    I used to respect Sennheiser, not it's gone

    1. nijam

      Re: Sigh....

      > I used to respect Sennheiser, not it's gone

      Sennheiser are still good, they just see idiots spending big on rubbish (from Beats upwards), and see no reason why they shouldn't get a cut.

    2. silent_count

      Re: Sigh....

      @Lost All Faith

      You're so right, mate. It's an obscene amount of money to be paying for something which obviously could not possibly be worth that much.

      Incidentally, if any Senheiser customer reads this and discovers their €50k headphones don't have a long enough cable, you're in luck! I can sell you a genuine analogue (far warmer and more organic than the digital rubbish you get these days) audio extension cable sheathed in real unicorn scrotum. Sure, it won't be cheap but you just can't put a price tag on the envious looks you'll get from your guests when you brandish your €100k audio cable.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Sigh....

        Have an upvote, sir, for "sheathed in real unicorn scrotum"

  13. tony2heads
    Unhappy

    Bloody audiophiles

    Will lap this gold-plated bullshit up. The fact that the tubes give distortion totally negates the hi-fi credibility seems lost on them.

    Why should marble be any better than chipboard or any other non-conducting material anyway?

    1. Tom 7 Silver badge

      Re: Bloody audiophiles

      A heavy material is useful on a valve amp that is under sonic attack - if you have some speakers turned up loud next to a valve amp they will exhibit a microphone effect.

      Given this is feeding into headphones it highlights Sennheisers desire to confuse the customer and con them out of some more money.

    2. Stoneshop Silver badge

      Re: Bloody audiophiles

      Why should marble be any better than chipboard or any other non-conducting material anyway?

      Because it looks and feels nicer. If I were building an amp like that, I'd go for a case that does justice to the electronics. Might well be marble indeed if I had the skill to work it, although something dark like granite would be more to my taste.

      Somewhere in my pile of semi-finished projects is a nixie tube clock, and a nice piece of hardwood with a hole cut out that's going to take the clock and some additional electronics to control a wake-up light. I've made cases out of raw circuit board material, soldered together at the edges, but I considered the clock deserving a decent case.

    3. Vic

      Re: Bloody audiophiles

      Why should marble be any better than chipboard or any other non-conducting material anyway?

      It stabilises all the microphonic bits of the amplifier...

      Vic.

    4. Commswonk Silver badge
      Joke

      Re: Bloody audiophiles

      Why should marble be any better than chipboard or any other non-conducting material anyway?

      Because marble is simply so, like, cool, man.

  14. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

    Planning ahead

    Rght now I am 'gainfully employed', but when I'll retire I'll set up a small business of my own (again). I haven't quite decided yet on the products or services I will offer. I have, however already defined the target group: rich idiots.

  15. Zog_but_not_the_first
    Devil

    Much as I love Sennheiser headphones...

    ... this is deeply, deeply vulgar.

    1. Bloakey1

      Re: Much as I love Sennheiser headphones...

      Just think how wicked Renée and Renato would sound through these, perhaps a soupcon of Britney Spears at full volume topped off with a nice military band playing the Horst Wessel.

      Quality music requires quality ear furniture.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        @Bloakey1

        I sincerely hope that this is irony.

  16. Dave 126 Silver badge

    How can I tell it's a luxury product?

    ...Because its webpage takes a minute to load and has unnecessary sound and visual effects.

    (Only difference to this tradition is that Sennheiser are using WebGL instead of Flash).

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

  17. paulf
    Megaphone

    Diminishing returns

    I bought a pair of Sennheiser HD-25s for £115 and they give, what I perceive to be, excellent sound quality. Even then I think I'm into diminishing returns so this is just nuts. That said the best quality input source I have is CD Audio.

    1. TheOtherHobbes

      Re: Diminishing returns

      HD-25s are the DBs - accurate sound, very affordable. You have to pay 3 or 4 times as much for Grados to get something significantly better.

      But these supercans aren't really cans - they're "look at me, I'm filthy rich" public money masturbation.

      Should be a big hit with oligarchs everywhere. They'll fit right in the with the classy and understated decor on the megayacht. And why not get another pair for the 737-BBJ?

    2. IHateWearingATie

      Re: Diminishing returns

      I have a pair of £30 bluetooth generic headphones that sound exactly the same. Why? Because I have 'lead ears' and a serious case of philistinism which means I can't tell any difference between crap and great headphones. Saves me a packet :)

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    We can't afford one but...

    How many poor audiophiles does it take to dance on the head of a pin? Sit back and find out...

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: We can't afford one but...

      Audiophiles can dance? I thought that would introduce unacceptable vibrations to the turntable...

      Maybe they wear special audiophile dancing slippers, with inflated bladders and MCU elastomer dampers.

  19. Dr_N Silver badge

    Audiophiles...

    ... a deep vein of easily mined cash.

  20. herman Silver badge

    Feberge Egg

    Well, at least this equipment is somewhat useful.

  21. Mike Taylor

    Can we get John Watkinson to review these (and a very wide range of other cans)?

  22. AegisPrime
    Meh

    Seeing as Sennheiser make one of the best, cheap pairs of cans on the market (HD 201's - £18) I think I can forgive their bonkers eccentricity in making these - I wonder how they sound in comparison?

    1. Zog_but_not_the_first
      Trollface

      "Seeing as Sennheiser make one of the best, cheap pairs of cans on the market (HD 201's - £18) I think I can forgive their bonkers eccentricity in making these - I wonder how they sound in comparison?"

      (Wouldn't it be lovely if) they (had) have the same internals?

  23. rhydian
    Joke

    From the kind of shop that'll sell you....

    ...gold plated optical cable, or a ten grand CAT5 cable

    http://arstechnica.com/staff/2015/02/to-the-audiophile-this-10000-ethernet-cable-apparently-makes-sense/

    1. Kubla Cant Silver badge

      Re: From the kind of shop that'll sell you....

      Superb! A $10,000 directional Ethernet cable. You've made my day.

      1. rhydian

        Re: From the kind of shop that'll sell you....

        Yep, I bet you never realised they were directional did you? I plugged one in the wrong way once and my whole router exploded.

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What the fscking fsck?!

    That is all.

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    2.4 µ thick

    2.4 micro what?

    1. Named coward

      Re: 2.4 µ thick

      2.4 microns...someone missed the bulletin from 1967

  26. badger31

    Unless the power indictor is a blindingly bright blue LED

    I ain't interested.

    1. John Bailey

      Re: Unless the power indictor is a blindingly bright blue LED

      Well.. Funny you should mention it..

      I happen to have a studio grade precisely calibrated 5mm blue LED for sale.

      To you.. £20,000 plus fitting.

      The anti static bag is however, extra.

  27. Inertia

    I am definitely not the target market...

    ....for the headphones with a 20 kilo marble inline volume control. And that webgl launch presentation is a complete rotter.

  28. Anonymous Coward
    FAIL

    Reminds me of a story in 2008...

    ...Monster cables versus a coat hanger:

    http://consumerist.com/2008/03/03/do-coat-hangers-sound-as-good-monster-cables/

  29. Nathan 13

    Everything

    Is worth what people will pay for it. So if people buy these headphones what is the problem. God we need that VAT. One set will pay for an immigrant and 6 children for 3 weeks!

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