Early ‘90s were special for me; grunge and alternative rock reached new heights. Bands like Nirvana, Pearl Jam, R.E.M. and a lot of others became the new trend of modern music.
The Prodigy had just invented a new stream of electronic music. At last, punk rock was cool and certainly not dead. Britney Spears posters was on every kids’ door.
Those ears were special also because Sennheiser has set out to create a legend, a myth, a unicorn. Thus in Sennheiser launches the HE electrostatic headphones and HEV tube-based headphone amp which together created the Sennheiser Orpheus system.
At that time the set was selling at the exorbitant $ 15,, an unimaginable value at a time when the most expensive earphones cost $
Being a product released only for the most coveted head-philes, it was a limited edition where only sets were produced.
A forgotten memory is that in the early s a petition was written by Jan Meier (the man behind Meier Audio) that came directly into Sennheiser’s hands.
Sennheiser agreed to produce additional 30 sets for the most affectionate head-philes, so the total production run was pieces.
For 26 years they had the status of the best headphones ever created.
Often provoked by the Japanese manufacturers such as Stax (SR, SR) and even by Sony (MDR-R10), Orpheus had the fiercest competition and yet have always been ranked at the top of the best headphones ever created.
In at the 70th anniversary of the brand, CEO Daniel Sennheiser was making a long-awaited announcement, officially confirming a successor to the legendary Orpheus, the Orpheus HE-1 system.
Ten years Sennheiser team led by Chief Engineer Axel Grell researched and developed what was to be embodied in the new HE-1, the next Magnum Opus of the German manufacturer.
The goal was simple, but almost impossible to be achieved: self-transcending your own creation and sculpting again the world’s best headphones without compromising anything, the final cost being the least concerning aspect.
Sennheiser designers have been given total freedom without being restricted by time, by the quality of materials, to these people have been given the opportunity to demonstrate their genius and creativity. Numerous patents have seen the daylight in this campaign, patents that are now embedded in HE
Please meet: Sennheiser HE-1
Everything we see in front of us is actually a 3-in-1 system: a pair of electrostatic headphones, a tube-based headphone amplifier and a Hi-Resolution DAC.
In order to provide mechanical decoupling and total removal of vibrations the body of the amp was carved from Carrara marble, the same marble that was used to sculpt many masterpieces of the past such as David, Michelangelo’s Pieta, Trajan’s Column, Marcus Aurelius Column, and the examples can continue.
The amplifier is quite interesting, each tube from the total of eight is placed in a vacuum quartz cylinder to eliminate all vibrations from the outside environments and to keep the tubes at a constant temperature
The most interesting aspect is that the final amplification stage is located in the headphone cups to eliminate the capacitive resistance of the cable. MOSFET transistors inside the headphones are always in Class A and the aluminum fins around the cups are actually cooling radiators that prevent them from overheating.
These are electrostatic headphones; they do not use any magnets like the planar-magnetic or dynamic headphones.
The electrostatic driver consists of a fixed and a mobile electrode. Continuous voltage between the two creates an electric field that moves the mobile electrode. As in the case of planar-magnetic headphones, the entire surface of the mobile electrode radiates the entire audio frequency range as if a sound wall relentlessly strikes your eardrums.
The movable armature that creates the sound has a thickness of only microns that is also platinum plated to improve stiffness of the diaphragm.
Measured frequency response is really impressive; it starts at 8 Hz up to more than kHz in the same time registering the lowest total harmonic distortion of any audio diaphragm/driver ever created at just % at an acoustic pressure of dB!
Internal DAC board uses an ESS S Sabre DAC chip with 8 channels used in a balanced configuration; it was the highest performance commercial DAC chip of that time.
The internal DAC is capable of playing DSD and Hi-Resolution PCM files.
Honestly, I think the integrated DAC is not at the amp or headphone level, so we used a much more advanced external DAC, the QBD 76 HDSD from Chord Electronics.
As you can see, it’s a real experience turning on the system and observing how the internal motors are moving the analog pots.
Everything is superlative; manually assembling it over pieces are needed for building a single HE-1 set, the factory can assemble in the best conditions a system a day.
Carried away by music
Saturday, 11 march, PM, I get a very short phone call.
My friend: Should we go and listen to the Orpheus 2 system?
My friend: NOW!
Not even 15 minutes passed by and we were already in front at the local Sennheiser dealer with a crowbar in our hands … I’m kidding, I was with keys in hand ready do open the showroom at midnight just to listen all night to the world’s best headphones.
Entering into the room I felt like a virgin before a horny night.
I didn’t care how the headphones looked, what they are made of, how cool the Sennheiser stamped vacuum tubes were or other things that were useless at the time.
I was interested in something else; I wanted to push that big gray button as fast as possible.
I just wanted to listen to music…
Being a skeptic by definition do not criticize any audio device until I listen to it.
So, I sat down nicely, having a USB stick at my fingertips with some of my favorite songs, I calmed my spirits and pressed Play with a crazy smile on my face.
The first track I listened was Radiohead - No Surprises from OK Computer.
I know this track very well, I even dream myself air-playing the guitar.
Saying that I had a magical experience would be a great injustice to the system, it was more than that.
Forget everything you know about headphones or speakers, dynamic, planar or electrostatic, it doesn’t matter, because what I’ve heard was different, a completely new experience.
I will say from the start that what I’ve heard was the best sound experience I ever felt.
I felt how I was starting to disappear, headphones didn’t disappear from my head - how usually a good set of headphones will do, No, I disappeared.
I really felt like I was the microphone and that I am not hearing a digital conversion or that an amplification stage follows and then there’s a playback. The music had become pure, floating around slowly towards me.
I swear that I was at a Radiohead concert, but lived experience was much more intense than that to see them live on stage.
I was listening with my eyes closed and my imagination started going crazy: bright colors, lights, childhood memories, all passing through my mind, I did not understand what is happening to me.
At the end of the song I understood that more real than that, better than that could not be possible.
Dear readers, today I will not write about bass response, about midrange, or treble, because none of that matters when listening to Orpheus HE
Music heard was so pure and real, that general notions about sound are no longer valid, they simply disappear.
I open my eyes, I check my watch, and I realize I’ve been going for an hour, I turned my head and checked if my friend did not fell asleep. He confirmed that everything is ok and that we can continue.
Of course I listened to the whole album, I had to.
I like a song played by the boys at Zdob si Zdub called Ciobanasul vrea sa se desparta de oi. I do not understand why I like it, it’s not a complicated piece, it does not have dozens of instruments thrown in the background, it has nothing really special, yet it always energizes me.
I had entered a trance state, and I was seeing myself in green fields and far away hills.
The sounds were born (yes, this is the correct verb) of nothing, they were appearing so clear and fast in front of me. I have never heard a faster transient response, an instantaneous rise in dynamics, just lightning fast.
In my Audeze LCD-4 review I was saying the sound depth is really good, I do not know what to say about HE
It was very deep, I noticed it especially on Pixies – Where is My Mind?
At some point in the song there is a secondary voice that sighs a “Uooouuoo”, well that voice on LCD-4 felt like it was 10 meters away from me, on HE-1 it was like about 50 meters away from me. A very, very deep performance, and I’m generally more impressed about the depth of sound than its width (soundstage size).
I do not know how but I opened my eyes again and 4 hours already passed.
I come back and see my friend in a semi-sleepy state.
At AM we were back to our homes and I remember clearly how I did not say a word on my way back because I wanted to have my mind as clear as possible. I could now wait to get home and put on my Audeze LCD-4 to confirm that they were pretty close to the HE-1 performance.
Great was my disappointment when I started playing Pink Martini – Simpatique – exactly the last track I listened on HE-1 about 15 minutes ago.
I’ve heard a muddy, dull, heavy-oriented sound with no texture or shape, the voices we were unfocused, I’ve heard a very Big difference…
I got sad in that moment because I was hopping to hear at home at least 75% of what HE-1 are capable of, but it was not meant to be.
I could not take my thoughts out of my head, so today, March 14th, I told my colleagues that I have a stomach pain and that I am going to do medical check-up, so…I took a day off. But at AM in the morning I was back with HE-1 on my ears. This time around I was armed with even more music. I know that was not fair, but having HE-1 for one day playing only for you it’s not an opportunity you want to miss.
I pressed the big gray button again and played a record that I really love, Gothart – Cabaret.
Above all, I was interested in the performance of the song Pana cand nu te iubeam. This Balkan music is not only greatly recorded and mixed but it also sounds very sweet and pleasant to my ears.
Closing my eyes, I felt how the musicians appeared in the listening room, all instruments sounded so real, a warm voice was touching my soul, I could not believe that in fact I was listening to a digital recording made in the past.
It seemed to me that people were singing right now in front of me, just for me. At the end of the song I wanted to pour them a glass of wine and thank them personally.
In fact, no jokes, at one point I started applauding at the end of a song, I was lucky to be alone in the listening room.
En extraordinary performance, magnificent, so true to life it was just unreal.
I continued with some rock and electronic music. I listened to Infected Mushroom and to some Vita de Vie.
Why Infected Mushroom? Because they have the best recorded and mastered electronic music I have ever listened to.
I heard lightning fast transients again, sounds that are born out of thin air were also present, every note hit me so hard in the eardrums that at the end of the song I felt like I participating at a bar fight. The impact and kick into eardrums was mind-boggling.
After I put them down, I could hear my ears ringing from the high volume I listened to, but I did not understand why, because in my mind I was not listening at a very high volume. I hardly realized that a virtually complete lack of distortions always creates a desire to rise the volume higher and higher.
These are exceptional headphones, everything sounded so clean, like putting my music under the magnifying glass, sound was so real and so alive, it was crystal-clear, smooth and very pleasing to my ears.
I noticed a new side-effect: on all the songs I listened to on HE-1, I heard new micro-details and small subtleties that I had not heard before, however they always seemed easy going, liquid somehow, smooth and calming.
Today, although I had listened to HE-1 for about 5 hours, I came home with a bright face, I felt so accomplished, as if something extraordinary happened.
HE-1 calmed me immediately after hitting the play button, there are very few headphones on the face of the earth that could do that.
They simply beam you into your world and you can stay there as much as you want, until your playlist ends, an extraordinary feeling!
As I said above, although I have tested the hell out of this thing, I could not find any cons, nothing.
To me these are the embodiment of perfection.
I swear that if tomorrow I win 55, Euros at the lottery, I’m not going to put off my mortgage loan, I would calm down my spirits daily at my home with an Orpheus HE-1 set. This way I would have 30 years to listen to music and pay my mortgage rates.
Bravo Sennheiser, I stand up, pull my hat off and applaud you with respect!
10 out of 10!
Chord QBD76 HDSD, Sennheiser Orpheus HE-1, a pair of ears
Overall score 95/
The world's most expensive headphones make its debut in Southeast Asia today, at an official unveiling at Marina Bay Sands in Singapore, attended by media from the region including Thailand, Vietnam and Indonesia.
The latest high-end headphones from the German label is the successor to the legendary Orpheus model, a bestseller first launched 25 years ago and still remains highly coveted by audiophiles.
In all aspects, the new Sennheiser HE1 even more superlative than its predecessor.
Made with gold, marble and leather, the electrostatic headphones is the epitome of luxury. Containing more than 6, individual components it is the most technologically advanced headset available, providing a frequency response that extends beyond the range of human hearing and the lowest total harmonic distortion that has ever been measured in an audio reproduction system.
Taking more than a decade to develop, the new generation HE 1 comes with a completely new amplifier concept that combines the superior impulse processing of a tube amplifier with the low distortion of a transistor amplifier to perfection.
At the heart of the amplifier are eight vacuum tubes that process the incoming signal. To reduce sensitivity to air-borne noise, the amplifier housing was crafted from granular, inhomogeneous Carrara marble and is freely suspended with the amplifier.
In addition, the decoupling of the tubes in combination with the damping properties of the marble has the effect of reducing structure-borne noise to an absolute minimum. The tubes themselves also have a high-quality patent-pending enclosure consisting of quartz-glass bulbs that perfectly shield them from their surroundings.
The tube amplifier stage is followed by a patented ultra-high impulse amplifier stage that is directly integrated into the cups of the headphones.
The result is an impressive percent rise in efficiency compared to other products.
To ensure the outstanding acoustic performance, Sennheiser uses gold-vaporised ceramic electrodes and platinum-vaporised diaphragms.
Ceramic a a material whose internal damping and granular structure make it much more resistant to resonances than glass, whilst a layer of gold vapour-deposited guarantees optimum electrical conductivity.
Inside, the eight wires of the high-performance cables are made of oxygen-free copper and plated with a coating of silver, which provides optimum conductivity for perfect transmission of the audio signal. The wires are sheathed in an insulating layer that has a mixture of differently structured materials which eliminates the sound waves acting on the cable.
With its unique transducer system, the HE 1 has a frequency response of 8 hertz to more than kilohertz, a frequency range which far exceeds the limits of human hearing ability, and ensures the headphones are virtually free of distortion.
At one kilohertz and a sound pressure level of decibels, the total harmonic distortion of the headphone system is a mere percent, which means it reproduces the sound of the audio source with greater fidelity and in more detail than any other product in the audio world.
The Sennheiser HE 1 is unprecedented in terms of sound purity.
The amplifier is housed in a marble sourced from Carrara in Italy and is the same type of marble that Michelangelo used to create his sculptures. Meanwhile, the rotary switches for the source and the volume controls are milled from a single piece of brass and chromium-plated
When the volume control is pressed to activate the on function, the controls at the front slowly extend outwards horizontally from the amplifier housing, before the vacuum tubes with their quartz glass bulbs rise vertically from the base and start to glow. The glass cover then automatically raises to allow the headphones to be removed.
Leather ear cushions lined with hypoallergenic, breathable microfiber fabric provides additional acoustic absorption, and is comfortable over hours of wear.
Truly a luxurious product for the best of audiophiles, the Sennheiser HE 1 is handcrafted in the company's headquarters in Germany with production of one unit a day, and limited to only two hundred a year.
It is now available for pre-orders in Southeast Asia and will cost around 50,
Find out more atwww.sennheiser.com/sennheiser-he-1
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Sennheiser HE 1 hands-on review
The marble not only adds to the overall beauty of the product, but also prevents structure-borne noise. It helps in another area too. Tube amplifiers are revered in the audiophile world for their celebrated impulse processing. But their sensitivity to air-borne-noise needs to be handled well. The Sennheiser HE 1 deploys eight vacuum tubes to process the incoming signals and the amplifier housing constructed out of granular, inhomogeneous Carrara marble is freely suspended with the amplifier. The decoupling of the tubes combined with the damping properties of the marble in effect, lowers structure-borne noise to an absolute minimum. If that's not enough, the tubes too sport a high-quality patent-pending enclosure consisting of quartz-glass bulbs that perfectly protect them from any surrounding disturbance.
The tube amplifier stage is followed by a patented ultra-high impulse amplifier stage that is directly integrated into the cups of the headphones. When compared with other products, this results in a percent rise in overall efficiency. Sennheiser knows about the power loss that takes place when the signal travels through the cable connecting the headphones to the tube amplifiers.
To tackle this peculiar problem, they decided to take a radical approach and amplify the alternating voltage to high voltages not at the beginning of the cable but at the point where it is required – directly at the gold-vaporised ceramic electrodes in the headphones themselves. Which is why, on the HE 1, the distance between the amplifier and the diaphragm is less than one centimetre.
Sennheiser HE 1 headphones launched in India at Rs. 45,00,
Sennheiser has launched its HE 1 headphones in India at Rs. 45,00, The headphones is the successor to the Orpheus and the company claims them to be the world’s finest and best headphones. The Sennheiser HE 1 offers a frequency response that goes beyond the range of human hearing and the lowest total harmonic distortion that has ever been measured in an audio reproduction system.
Read the complete press release below
German Audio specialist Sennheiser, today re-defined the limits of audiophile sound in India as it launched the world’s finest and the best headphones - Sennheiser HE 1, successor to the legendary Orpheus. Sennheiser HE 1 is a proof of that Sennheiser is truly shaping the future of audio in the Indian market. The new audio miracle combines a unique amplifier concept with carefully selected materials and highest quality craftsmanship the world has ever seen before. The HE 1 will be available in India from May for INR 45,00,
A frequency response that extends beyond the range of human hearing and the lowest total harmonic distortion that has ever been measured in an audio reproduction system are just some of the technical highlights of this milestone product- Sennheiser HE 1.
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 /, the audio specialist achieved precisely that: Sennheiser took the audio world by storm with an engineering masterpiece that eliminated all previous ideas about the performance limitations of headphones. The HE 1, an electrostatic headphone system with an impressive V tube amplifier, became an icon of the audio industry and was recognized as the best headphones in the world – until now.
Almost 25 years after the legendary Orpheus, Sennheiser is once again surpassing the limits of what is technically feasible and is opening a new chapter in audio excellence. The new HE 1 represents a unique combination of meticulous engineering skills and technological brilliance. The result: an unprecedented sound experience with the ultimate in reproduction precision and unique spatiality.
Commenting on the launch Dr Andreas Sennheiser, CEO, Sennheiser, said “To craft a successor to the legendary Orpheus as a reference product for the industry itself, Sennheiser worked tirelessly on innovative technical solutions, consistently putting previously used acoustics approaches to the test and exploiting every conceivable possibility when it came to selecting the optimum materials. For almost a decade, a core team of developers, engineers and designers dedicated themselves to producing a successor, and they have now created a headphone system that is beyond comparison. We are very proud of this exceptional product for the benchmark for the Indian market. The HE 1 stands for the innovative capabilities of our company and the joint commitment of our workforce to the pursuit of perfect sound.”
"For a decade now in the Indian market, Sennheiser has shaped the industry and has been at the cutting edge of audio by continuously re-defining the gold standard of what is technically possible,” said Sennheiser CEO Daniel Sennheiser. “With the HE 1, we are once again pushing the boundaries and are showing that we can repeatedly set new benchmarks in excellence and reshape the future of the high-end audio world.”
Commenting on the launch, Mr. Kapil Gulati, Director Consumer Segment said “We are very thrilled to have launched the World’s finest headphones, now in India. India has emerged as one of the biggest and fastest growing markets in the audiophile industry and with the launch of these headphones we have managed to set a new benchmark yet again. We at Sennheiser always thrive for excellence and are reshaping the future of high-end audio world in pursuit of perfect sound. “
A patented amplifier concept for incomparable sound
Reproducing sound that is as natural as possible and precise in every detail: with the new HE 1, Sennheiser has come closer to this dream than anyone ever before. “No other sound reproduction system in the world is able to deceive our senses like the HE 1. It creates the absolutely perfect illusion of being directly immersed in the sound,” said Daniel Sennheiser, describing the audio experience. To achieve this, the headphones use a completely new amplifier concept that combines the superior impulse processing of a tube amplifier with the low distortion of a transistor amplifier to perfection.”
At the heart of the amplifier are eight vacuum tubes that process the incoming signal. The advantage of tube amplifiers is their superior impulse processing. However, one challenge is their sensitivity to air-borne-noise. For this reason, the amplifier housing was crafted from granular, inhomogeneous Carrara marble and is freely suspended with the amplifier. The decoupling of the tubes in combination with the damping properties of the marble has the effect of reducing structure-borne noise to an absolute minimum. The tubes themselves also have a high-quality patent-pending enclosure consisting of quartz-glass bulbs that perfectly shield them from their surroundings.
The tube amplifier stage is followed by a patented ultra-high impulse amplifier stage that is directly integrated into the cups of the headphones. The result is impressive: a percent rise in efficiency compared to other products. In electrostatic headphones, most of the amplifier power is lost in the cable between the headphones and the tube amplifier. Only around one third of the power generated is used to produce sound waves, Sennheiser’s approach was therefore to amplify the alternating voltage to high voltages not at the beginning of the cable but at the point where it is required – directly at the gold-vaporised ceramic electrodes in the headphones themselves. The great advantage of this design is the extremely short distance between the amplifier and the diaphragm which is less than one centimetre in the new HE1. Thus, the headphone system requires far less power for charge reversal, as the current capacities are much lower. At a voltage of only around 5 Volt, the music signal is transmitted balanced to the high-voltage amplifier integrated into the headphones and is amplified there. This ensures extremely high impulse fidelity with relatively low power requirements. Just like the tubes of the tube amplifier, the system’s MOS-FET transistors have a square characteristic curve to prevent the hard distortion that occurs in amplifiers with bi-polar transistors.
Sennheiser places the new amplifier concept in a class that the audio specialist calls Cool Class A. In the low-frequency range, Cool Class A provides Class A power at any volume. In the high- and ultrahigh-frequency range, the amplifier switches from Class A to the usual Class AB operation. That will, however, only be the case when listening to a very unusual frequency spectrum.
Gold-vaporised ceramic electrodes and platinum-vaporised diaphragms
Meticulous attention has also been paid to every detail of the material selection for the HE 1 to fully exploit the sound potential of the reference headphones. Each of the more than 6, individual components was carefully chosen, their acoustic characteristics were evaluated and finally the optimum combination was put together. After all, it is the interaction between all components that is ultimately responsible for the audio quality of the headphones. For example, to ensure the outstanding performance of the acoustic unit, Sennheiser uses gold-vaporised ceramic electrodes and platinum-vaporised diaphragms.
It goes without saying that the cables too have been specially designed and built. The eight wires of the high-performance cables are made of oxygen-free copper and plated with a coating of silver, which provides optimum conductivity for perfect transmission of the audio signal. The wires are sheathed in an insulating layer that has a mixture of differently structured materials which eliminates the sound waves acting on the cable.
Ultra-wide frequency response and the world`s lowest total harmonic distortion
With its unique transducer system, the new HE 1 has a frequency response of 8 hertz to more than kilohertz. This is a frequency range which far exceeds the limits of human hearing ability. Nevertheless, this extremely wide frequency response does influence the sound experience, as it ensures that, in the audible range, the sound of the headphones is virtually free of distortion.
At one kilohertz and a sound pressure level of decibels, the total harmonic distortion of the headphone system is a mere percent, which means it reproduces the sound of the audio source with greater fidelity and in more detail than any other product in the audio world. Therefore, in terms of sound purity, Sennheiser is venturing into areas that have never been measured in a sound reproduction system. Even the slightest nuances of the music become audible.
Technology beyond the reference
The HE 1 can be operated with a wide range of analogue and digital audio sources. Apart from balanced inputs, the headphone system also has unbalanced input sockets; the incoming signals are balanced before being further processed. Digital audio sources are connected via S/PDIF (optical and coaxial) or USB. To convert the digital music data into analog signals, the HE 1 uses the ESS SABRE ES chip – a reference in the field of digital-to-analog converters. In the HE 1, its eight internal DACs convert audio data with a resolution of 32 bits and a sampling rate of up to kHz or DSD signals with MHz and MHz into balanced analog signals. For each stereo channel, four DACs are connected in parallel for noise reduction. Thus, the entire frequency spectrum of high-end audio sources is reproduced without distortion. The circuit was optimised for the fully symmetrical design of the HE1.
Unrivalled sound experienced for all senses
The unique HE 1 experience begins long before you start listening. When the on/off-volume control is pressed, the controls at the front slowly extend from the amplifier housing, before the vacuum tubes with their quartz glass bulbs rise from the base and start to glow. Finally, a glass cover is automatically raised, allowing the headphones to be removed. The main aim was to provide a sensual experience by using highest quality materials.
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 rotary switches for the source and the volume controls are milled from a single piece of brass and chromium-plated. The positions of the four switches are controlled by a microprocessor and activated by high-quality relays. Each element can be remote-controlled and will follow any adjustments that the listener makes. For example, if the input switch is changed by remote control from USB to Balanced, the respective button will also rotate.
The combination of outstanding technology, exquisite design and the highest-quality materials is also continued in the headphones themselves. The genuine leather ear cushions are crafted in Germany and ensure the highest possible comfort even over several hours. At the inner side of the cushions, hypoallergenic, breathable microfiber fabric provides additional acoustic absorption. All these materials form an ingenious combination of design, comfort and function – for a unique audio experience that appeals to all senses.
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1 sennheiser frequency response he
Sennheiser HD Default (report for a pro)
Test report - general data of Sennheiser HD Default headphone
Sensitivity of Sennheiser HD Default headphone
Frequency response of Sennheiser HD Default headphone
Impedance of Sennheiser HD Default headphone
Electric phase of Sennheiser HD Default headphone
Frequency response of Sennheiser HD Default headphone when connected to amplifiers with constant output impedance
Deviation of frequency response of Sennheiser HD Default headphone when connected to amplifiers with constant output impedance
Frequency response of Sennheiser HD Default headphone when connected to an amplifier with zero output impedance and raising of output impedanse in low frequencies
Deviation of frequency response of Sennheiser HD Default headphone when connected to an amplifier with zero output impedance and raising of output impedanse in low frequencies
Perception of headphone frequency response curves of equal loudness ISO of Sennheiser HD Default headphone
Impulse response of Sennheiser HD Default headphone
Impulse Response Envelope (ETC - Energy Time Curve) of Sennheiser HD Default headphone
Step response of Sennheiser HD Default headphone
Square wave of Sennheiser HD Default headphone
QSD / Watterfall of Sennheiser HD Default headphone
Delta QSD / Delta Watterfall of Sennheiser HD Default headphone
On-line comparison and selection services for Sennheiser HD
Comparison the frequency response.
Compare the frequency response of the bundles and AMPs.
Comparison of basic characteristics: Sensitivity, Impedance.
Determination of the required voltage level from a headphone amplifier for HD and comparison with other models A additional analytics of compatibility with specific amplifiers.
Comparing changes in frequency and sound pressure as a function of the applied voltage and a impedance of an amplifier.
Headphone square wave comparison at the required frequency.
The automatic selection of the optimal AMP models from HD
When somebody claims to have made the world’s best headphones, it’s only natural to raise an eyebrow. But what do you do when they claim to have done it twice? Two eyebrows, of course. Equal parts surprise, delight and scepticism.
The spirit of the original Project Orpheus was simple, if unashamedly hubristic: what could Sennheiser make if it did its best to ignore practicality and cost?
The snappily named Sennheiser HE90/HEV90 was the result, a reference electrostatic headphone and valve amp combination made of wood, glass and metal. Only were made, and they cost £10, each. Calling them simply ‘headphones’ seemed something of a undersell.
Back to , and Sennheiser is celebrating its 70th anniversary with the launch of another Orpheus: the HE/HEV Development started around 10 years ago, and it’s a formidable successor with a price tag to match.
How much? It costs €50, Which roughly translates to £35, As far as we're aware, the world’s most expensive pair of headphones. Can a headphone system ever justify that price? Let’s find out.
We spent a frustratingly brief period of time locked in a small room with the new Orpheus, which was connected to a T+A MP HV media player. Here are our initial impressions.
Eyes-on before hands-on, and the first thing your gaze settles on is the copious amount of marble that makes up the bulk of the chassis. To be precise, this is fine Carrara marble of the type Michelangelo once used for his sculptures. Axel Grell, one of the engineers in charge of the project, went to Italy to personally pick the right marble. Money no object, remember.
Sennheiser takes this opportunity to say things like ‘reshaping excellence’ and ‘a monument to sound’. Appropriate rock-themed phrases for sure, but the real reason for the marble is its mass, purity and solidity – which is good for damping. Sennheiser calls it ‘a vault of silence’.
Inside, we are told, the Orpheus uses the ESS SABRE ES chip for digital-to-analogue conversion. There are eight internal DACs, with four parallel channels per ear, promising to reduce distortion and noise levels. They are capable of handling high-resolution audio up to 32bit/kHz (as well as / MHz DSD signals). Connections: balanced and unbalanced, plus digital optical, coaxial and USB inputs.
We are invited to power-up the system, and a light blinks to life. Motorised knobs protrude from the front. Eight valves rise out of the top and glow invitingly. The lid yawns, revealing the treasure within. ‘Switching it on’ really doesn’t describe it. It’s more of an event. A ceremony. It’s hard to watch the Orpheus transform without imagining a drum roll.
The design may not appeal to everyone but it’s hard not to be impressed by the build quality. Every machine should aspire to this the kind of solidity and luxury. We’ve seen some fancy headphones in our time, but rarely (if ever) has anything reached this level of lushness.
It’s the sort of pleasure that only comes from stepping onto a red carpet at a film premiere, driving a Rolls-Royce or getting unexpectedly upgraded to First Class on a transatlantic flight.
We have no expectations for ‘chromium-plated brass’ but these knobs are certainly a pleasure to operate. They’re solid and they turn smoothly, with just the right balance of give and resistance. We nearly let out a satisfied 'ooooh' just changing the volume.
And that’s before we get to the headphones themselves – beautifully sculpted aluminium, with a side helping of leather and fine microfibre cloth.
The ear cups are surely capacious enough to engulf even the largest ears, and they hug the sides of your head rather than squeezing. We could wear these for hours on end.
We’re not sure what a pair of £35, headphones is supposed to feel like, but we certainly have no arguments with these.
Before we get into listening, let’s talk of the madness that’s gone into the headphones themselves. There are micrometre thick, platinum-coated diaphragms, which Sennheiser says is the ideal material and size for control.
The Orpheus has an ultra-wide frequency range, from 8Hz to more than kHz. This far exceeds what any human can hear. You would need the combined hearing capabilities of bats and elephants to perceive all of that.
Why? As with everything about the Orpheus, the answer is ‘because they can’. But Sennheiser also says an extremely wide frequency response helps ensure the sound is virtually free of audible distortion.
Eliminating distortion seems, to us, to have been the central theme of Sennheiser’s strategy with the Orpheus. It is the reason the transistor power amp has been built directly into the cups of the headphones: to minimise losses inherent in long cable runs and reduce distortion.
Does it work? Oh yes. Very much so. When we finally tire of playing with the Orpheus’ transforming bits and get listening, we are treated to a tremendous performance.
Of course, that is entirely the point. But even with our short playing time, even with the sound of people’s chatter in the background (these are open-backed headphones), we must conclude the sound is jaw-droppingly good.
Sennheiser can’t talk about the Orpheus without using the word ‘emotion’, but we think the key word here is ‘authenticity’. Music sounds entirely natural, not processed or exaggerated or equalised.
The emphasis on eliminating distortion has paid off. What you get is effortless insight. The subtlest details are eloquently presented and made so abundently clear that you wonder how you’d never noticed them before. This is the aural equivalent to getting your windscreen power-washed.
It’s not just the textures that benefit, but also the overall presentation. Instrument separation is handled with skill. Play anything with an orchestra and it becomes apparent how the Orpheus makes the most of the space between performers.
Clarity alone is not enough, of course, and the Orpheus also appears to excel at control. Timing is taut as you like. Leading and trailing edges start and end exactly where they should. This is where one might say ‘military precision’, but that would be an injustice: what the Orpheus offers is more human – more emotional – than that.
Across the frequency range, the weight is just right. There’s the power and energy you’d expect from a live performance. Vocals and guitar strums sound fresh - we can’t think of a better way to describe their directness and their organic feel, which is entirely convincing. It’s the sort of impact and immediacy you’d expect from performers sitting in the same room.
Can a pair of headphones ever justify £35,? Probably not if you have to ask, as the saying goes. We’re not actually sure Sennheiser even has an audience in mind, because in a way, this isn’t for the public.
The new Orpheus is for Sennheiser to see what it can do, and it's impossible not to acknowledge the boundaries that the new Orpheus pushes even if we might not be able to conceive of ever buying a pair.
Should you be excited about this? Yes, in the same way that one is excited about a new rocket-powered car breaking the land speed record. What’s more exciting, however, are the possibilities created by such a project, as this high-end tech will no doubt (slowly) trickle down to consumer products.
Either way, the Sennheiser Orpheus is a staggering piece of engineering, and an amazing slice of audio heaven. Now can we listen to it some more?
MORE: 10 of the world's most expensive speakers
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'Hands on reviews' are a journalist's first impressions of a piece of kit based on spending some time with it. It may be just a few moments, or a few hours. The important thing is we have been able to play with it ourselves and can give you some sense of what it's like to use, even if it's only an embryonic view.
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SENNHEISER HE 1 REVIEW
The Sennheiser HE 1 is the most expensive headphone setup in the world, except from a few offerings that includes gold and diamonds. It is Sennheisers ultimate statement product, priced in the league of a quite nice car. It is the new “Orpheus”, inspired by the legendary HE 90 which was launched in
For reasons unknown, Sennheiser never sent a review unit to the Headphoneer headquarters. However, I got the chance to sit down with the Sennheiser HE 1 system in peace and quiet somewhere else. Five hours of effective listening time, spread over three sessions over five days. Conditions were great: The rig was in a quiet and dedicated room, I was alone, using my own carefully selected music and the electronics connected were first class. Even the chair was comfortable. Before and after the sessions I listened to other top range headphones in the neighbouring room with the same music, and of course, I spent time at home between sessions with my own flagship headphones and amplifiers, still with the same music. However, review wise this was still not ideal. I am a big fan of A/B, side-by-side comparisons. I prefer getting to know a product for a longer period of time, then comparing it to relevant products in my collection. But this time it wasnt possible. However, I think I spent enough time with the HE 1 in good enough conditions to write something sensible about it, more than just the usual “Wow! It’s expensive” and “Wow! Great sound!” Hence I dare call this a “review”.
The HE 1 is both an amplifier and a headphone, only to be used with one another. It also has a built in DAC. HE 1 is Sennheisers only electrostatic headphone, and the amp is their only product that uses vacuum tubes. It is also the only amplifier made by a block of marble. I’ll leave it to other writers and Sennheiser to elaborate on the fancy interior details, I’ll focus on the stuff that matters in the end: How it feels and how it sounds. The HE 1 is a luxury product and it looks like one, it feels like one and of course is priced as one. But it also looks and feels like a very well engineered and thought-through product. The fancy rising tubes and withdrawing knobs sure adds some moving parts, but it also makes the amplifier less vulnerable to being damaged when not in use. But my favorite design feature is the built in headphone storage box with an internal headphone connector. I have thought about this for years why cannot headphone manufacturers actually ship their flagship headphones in boxes that you can use for everyday convenience? Where there is room for the headphone, the cable, and there is a hole for the cable that makes it possible to keep it connected while still in the box? Well, seems like someone finally did this, and it is great. To bad it costs the same as a nice car.
The cable is similar to the HD’s, but thicker. The shape and feel of the headphones themselves is great. They are not very light, but ergonomics and clamping force is just perfect. I wore them for more than two hours, with no need to take them off or move them around (I usually do that). They are very comfortable. Only strange thing about them is that they actually get a bit warm. This is because Sennheiser moved some of the amplification into the headphones themselves. It wasn’t anything I thought about when wearing them, but it felt a bit unusual to the touch. But hey: Headphones with heatsinks, how badass is that!
It is with some awe that you sit down and listen to the HE 1 for the first time. I’ve heard enough high end stuff by now not to easily get blown away. I didn’t expect to be this time either. I expected it to be great, but I also expected it to be a headphone. And I wasn’t let down: It sounds like a headphone. But what a headphone!
What greeted me was a very warm and organic sound. Actually my first thought was “This sounds nothing like the HD.” First, there was nothing potentially overly bright, cold or clinical sounding about it in any way. It felt extremely detailed, but in a subtle, almost understated, way. There was loads of texture and timbre to each tone from every instrument. Second, It didn’t sound as wide open as the HD But it still had superb separation, in a softer and more natural and intimate feeling way.
As I already mentioned, I was not able to do any immediate side by side comparisons of the HE 1 with other headphones. But still, I chose to write down my listening impressions track by track, as I like to do in all reviews. Most of these notes were taken at my second, and longest session with the HE 1.
Molvær Merciful: The female vocals are warm, intimate and rich. No sibilance. Her breath is something to be subtly sensed in between phrases. Piano is warm and rich. Soundstage is intimate.
Molvær Dead Indeed: The trumpet is warm, full and rich sounding. No dryness. The onset of the “full orchestra” at with various percussion, bass, other small bits of sampling, is astonishingly great. It all has a tactile feel. And it sounds warm and intimate. The bass that sets in at is very deep and powerful.
Ensemble Modo Antiquo The Young Vivaldi (track 1 and 2): The sound of the strings is airy yet full bodied, textured, full of timbre. Great sense of attack, very dynamic. Tonality feels perfect. The strings really has this fabulous engaging playfulness to them. Separation is great, but not to the extent that it feels artificial. The soundstage is intimate, which suits this chamber music piece greatly. I notice stuff I never heard before, plucking noises from the musicians etc. But not in a bothering way, just right, just like you experience in a live performance.
EST Viaticum: The opening bass is so tight, solid and full that I get a bit set off. Piano is warm, clear and crisp but not too bright. Percussion is detailed and snappy, but not unpleasantly hard or bright in any way. Again the soundstage is intimate.
H-Alpha Red Sphere: The bass drum really has this tactile feel only the best planar magnetic headphones can match. The shrieking, moo-ing saxophone sounds are just strangely pleasant. Smooth but still offensive, or vice versa, it is an experimental piece. All the rattle in the background comes through in this lovely balanced way. The bass drum hits hard and with full body, yet greatly textured. This is not the stereotype of tight bass. Its tactile and fun.
Hahn / Higdon Fly Forward: Great. The trumpets in the opening are so wonderfully textured. All the small subtle nuances are beautifully presented. Not up front in your face, but as a part of a whole, just like with live music, its all there in its own right, for you to discover. Nothing exaggerated or artificial.
M83 Midnight City: The bass that sets in from about 20 seconds is thunderous and digs incredibly deep. This is a complex track with lots of stuff going on. The HE 1 handles it with an elegant ease I never heard before. It also in a remarkable way manages to avoid any sharp edges to anything.
Molvær Solid Ether: The trumpet is so pleasant, so soothing. When the bass “rumbles in” at min, I am again struck by the HE 1’s tactile and deep reaching fundament. There are lots of small samples, elements and noises in the background here, they are all easy to separate, but still very easy on the ear. It strikes me that the soundstage is very, very natural. Like in a real concert in a well dampened and intimate concert space.
Radiohead Sit down: There is this fabulous organic warmth to the electronic sounds in the beginning, Thom Yorke’s voice is beautifully rendered. The bells have this superb round chiming sound. As the track builds up, the complexity is handled with authority, ease and control without ever being harsh. Even the 3 min. crescendo is handled with all its grandiosity with the same ease as everything else. Without sounding harsh nor muffled. This is a real feat!
Tomaz Stanko Terminal 7: The opening music from the “Homeland”-series never sounded this organic, warm and alive. All the instruments have the right amount of attack, timbre and warmth. Cymbals shimmer without overly brightness, the overtones and artifacts from Stanko’s trumpet is rendered in a balanced way, never too bright. Never distorted.
Tom Waits Georgia Lee: I get a bit offset by just how smooth Tom Waits voice comes through here. Wow. Its like melted butter. Relatively speaking, of course it is still Tom Waits. The many creaking and squeaking noises from the piano and accordion are very audible, in a pleasantly present way. Other ultra detailed audio systems can make such background sounds too obviously there. But not here. Its just some extra spice.
Tord Gustavsen Graceful Touch: I keep getting these experiences in the opening of familiar songs, like with Tom Waits’ voice. This time its Tord Gustavsen’s piano. The title “Graceful Touch” never was more appropriate. This is truly smooth, silky, silky buttery smooth with no sharp edges, but all the nuance. The organic flow of the piano is breathtaking. Its pure like water. Even the harder piano tones around is just shy of being unpleasant. They have the right amount of attack, but never cross the line.
Lamb Lusty: Oh, the bass. Tight and round, full and textured. Deep. The female vocals is so delicious. All the percussion is precise but not hard or harsh. Nothing sticks out that isn’t supposed to. The hammering samples at minutes are delivered with attack, body and a tactility I never heard before.
Lamb God Bless: All the tinkling sounds in the opening has this great beautifully balanced tonality, as with the female vocals. The bass setting in again reveals this delicious bloom that just makes me smile.
Lamb Zero: Nice quiet piece with a few strings and female vocals. The flow of the vocals is stunning. Strings are crisp and textured in a warm natural way. The vocalists voice is like honey. Strings are like you can reach out and touch them, feel their vibration. But its not smoothed down all the time, when called for at the mark it bites, strings become really crisp, full of attack. But as always without becoming too much, no annoying harshness, just almost touching it.
Let me make it clear first of all: I had nothing in the price range of the HE 1 to compare it to. But I had access to what normally is considered great headphone setups in the “not-insane” price range. Hopefully my comparisons will give the reader a feeling of how the HE 1 sounds like. *
After the first session, I immediately listened to the HE on the very neutral amplifier Moon HA. The soundstage felt much more open, but at the cost of intimacy, warmth and that special tactility I felt with the HE 1, especially in the lower regions. I tried out several other high end cans, and the impression remained. There was this tactile feeling the HE 1 has that no other headphones gave me. The headphone available that gave me the most similar soundstage to that of the HE 1 was the LCD-X.
After the second session, I went home and did a full round with my Stax SR/SRMtII setup. Keep in mind, however, that this comparison is made based on my memory, something I normally avoid. My ears were still tuned into the signature of the HE 1. Going from a headphone to another can always result in this kind of acclimatization effect. Further, the second session was really when I fell in love with the HE 1. So, coming home to my Stax rig, I was not really in the mood for anything else than the Sennheiser. But for the dedicated reader, here is what I noted while listening to some of the same tracks with the SR as I heard on the HE 1 the earlier on the same day:
EST Viaticum: The bass is nothing like I remember the HE 1. Especially in quantity, but also in quality. It is much more in the background, which makes the experience very different. Soundstage is similar, however, but a bit more open with the Stax, probably because it is notably brighter sounding.
H-Alpha Red Sphere: The bass drum isnt anything close to how I remember the HE 1. However, there is lots of detail, great separation. Everything feels very precise. But it feels a bit too bright, too thin. Especially since the bottom end is lacking in comparison to the Sennheiser. The tactile feel just isnt there in the same way. The music has a great detail level but not with the body it should have. It sounds more distant and thin.
Hahn Fly Forward: The strings are textured, fast and detailed. Yet, the body they had with the HE 1 isnt there. But strings arent where the SR diverges the most.
M83 Midnight City: The SR really does a nice job. But the bass quantity and shear “push” just is not there. Otherwise, separation is good, image depth quite equal.
Molvær Solid Ether: The trumpet is a bit thinner sounding. The bass is remarkably less present to how I remember the HE 1. Everything feels brighter, less real. Less of that natural flow.
Basically, the most important difference is that the SR doesnt have the same amount of bass as the HE 1, and it is brighter. Thus it sounds thinner and more distant. It also sounds less organic and intimate. I must say, however, that I generally like the SR a lot, and just because the HE 1 made me look at the SR’s weaknesses with a magnifier glass, doesnt mean the SR is a bad headphone. It is still world class, and a cherished part of my collection. Another important point is that Stax just released its long awaited new flagship amplifier in the form of the STAX SRM-T, that will hopefully make the SR perform better in the areas where I found it a bit lacking.
There are also third party amplifiers made for Stax headphones. Enthusiasts persistently claim that many of these will bring the SR, and also the SR, to significantly a higher level than the current line of Stax amps. I do not have the experience with these amplifiers to comment on that, but among them are offerings from Woo Audio, Cavalli Audio and Ray Samuels, as well as HeadAmp and Mjolnir Audio. The last two producers offer amplifiers based on designs made by Kevin Gilmore, who has been inspired by the highly regarded vintage Stax T2 amplifier. Hopefully the new SRM-T will be in the same league. *
I kept thinking while listening to the HE 1 that it most of all reminded me of a well amplified Sennheiser HD On steroids. With a very much more elaborate bass that doesnt roll off at all. Like a hyper-detailed version of the HD with the detail level of the and the bass grip and depth of the LCD-2 or 3. So whats left then from the HD? The midrange smoothness and the intimate soundstage. And sure enough. When I plugged the HD into the best amp I have, the lovely EAR HP4, I get a sound signature way closer to the HE 1 than I got with the SR
Plugging in my beloved LCD-2 rev.1, I start to find some of the deep bass performance I remember from the HE 1. But the HE 1 has more midrange bloom as I remember it. The tactility still isn’t the same, obvious amongst others with the M83’s “Midnight City”.
Then I try the LCD-X. It gives me the closest bass experience to my HE 1 memory. Deep, extended, with some mid-bass slam that gives you that tactile feeling. The soundstage also is intimate in a similar way to the HE 1. Moving on to the LCD-3, I really start to feel I am getting somewhere. There are similarities in bass performance, midrange smoothness and soundstage intimacy. A soundstage that gives you more depth than height and with.
I ended my evening session with the HD It has indeed much less bass presence and it is way brighter than the HE 1. The HD has more in common with the SR, sound signature-wise. But the HD has its legendary wide open soundstage. No-one can take that away from the HD Not even the HE 1.
I want to finish this section of comparisons by going back to the Sennheiser HD I kept returning to it in my thoughts when I tried to figure out how to best describe the Sennheiser flagship. And weeks after, when played relatively loud, the HD still was the headphone that was the most similar to my memory the HE 1, of course ignoring the obvious lack of extreme refinement and deep bass presence.
Now, the reason that the Sennheiser HD has gotten so much love from so many headphone enthusiasts is because of its smooth, warm sound signature and slight mid bass emphasis, a sound signature often referred to as musical. As a HD lover, I am delighted to say that in my ears the HE 1 is a perfect HD It is the HD of my dreams, bringing absurd clarity and all the deep bass you can handle in the same type of warm, smooth and delicious presentation.
My fellow HD lovers will know what I am talking about. But the HD is also a polarizing headphone amongst enthusiasts, some call it “laid back” or “veiled”. These people probably think I am far off now. So just to be clear: What I am saying is that HE 1 takes what is good from the HD’s presentation and makes it even better at the same time as it removes absolutely all of its shortcomings.
To me the HD first of all is a musical, smooth and non-fatiguing headphone. It’s about the music. And thus, it is very encouraging that when Sennheiser sought to make the best headphone possible without thinking about cost, its still all about the music, not about showing off. Because that’s what true hifi should be all about.
After a weekend of listening to a variety of headphones from my own collection, I return to the HE 1. Maybe I am tired of my test music, maybe the wow effect is wearing off. Or maybe it is because I an hour earlier had a brief “wow-experience” with the Focal Utopia and an amplifier I hadnt heard before (but hope soon to review).
The HE 1 still sounds great, of course. It is as I remember it, but I am neither floored, nor brought almost to tears as I was in my second session. I sneak out and listen to the SR/SRMtII rig that’s on display in the adjoining room, and it is actually quite nice today in direct comparison. I am probably just having a “bright day”, preferring brighter more open sounding headphones. I begin to realize that one of the main differences between most headphones and the HE1 is that I simply can play louder without fatigue, hence the massive perceived difference in bass impact and tactility. I assume the low distortion and ear friendly sound signature of the HE1 simply just is easier on the ear.
I finish my last date with the Sennheiser HE 1 with Nils Petter Molvær’s gentle “Kakonita”. This brings me back in mood to appreciate the true greatness of Sennheisers marble palace of a headphone system. So much deliciousness in a single trumpet. I am almost shedding a tear again. But I have to go to pick my kid up from kindergarten. I catch myself in a brief daydream imagining a future in which he ends up inheriting my HE 1.
The Sennheiser HE 1 is delicious. It is warm and inviting, it is rock solid and tactile, it is nuanced and hyper-resolving. It has an extremely ear friendly sound signature, and a fabulous bass experience. It is the best headphone I have heard. If you have the means and wish to spend this amount of money on a hi-fi rig, but is better suited with a headphone setup than with speakers, I see no reason you shouldn’t get it. You can get very close for a lot less, but for some that just doesnt matter.
For the rest of us, not able or ready to spend this quite extreme amount of money on a headphone rig, we just have to live with the second best, and hope that Sennheiser will make use of the technology from HE 1 in more affordable offerings.
It took me some days, or maybe weeks, to get over the HE 1. But sooner than I expected I went back to fully enjoying my own stuff, both the high end and not so high end. I have no problem imagining a happy and fulfilling life as a headphone enthusiast without ever listening to the HE 1 again. It was a great experience, and anyone who gets to own it is a lucky person. But the alternatives, that most people can actually buy, are so good. Not all the way up there, but what matters is enjoying great music.
A couple of weeks after my sessions with the HE 1, I went to this great jazz concert, an all acoustic event with Helge Lien Trio. While sitting there in the front row, tapping my foot, I couldnt stop thinking about the HE 1. This was how listening to Sennheiser HE 1 felt. Alive and close. I also reflected about its soundstage, which is not as immediately impressive and hyper realistic as some other headphones can be.To me, this has to do with the following: Instruments recorded in mono and mixed in stereo will always sound more pinpointed in a good stereo system than in a real life performance. Treble intensive headphones can further exaggerate this effect. But the HE 1 is not among those. The sound signature of Sennheisers flagship, with its full bass, warm mids and sweet highs, really makes for a “true to life” experience. Like the one I had on the first row in that jazz club.
Burmeister CD player (analog output)
Nordost Frey 2 XLR and power cables
ISOTEK EVO power conditioner with Isotek Syncro.
I want to thank Oslo Hi-Fi Center for letting me spend time with the Sennheiser HE 1.
Updates: May 15 th Added a few remarks (*)
Having golden ears hardwired by lossless silver to his brain using ultra-pure diamond solder, Mr.Headphoneer is in a totally unique position when it comes to critical listening. His completely subjective judgement will ensure that readers will leave this website even more confused than they were when they arrived.