I'm sitting in a Toyota dealership waiting for my car to be repaired. I have my iPad, an Apple wireless keyboard, my iPhone, a Pico Slim and these weird, ever so retro headphones: VectorScan VSH5 orthodynamics. Actually, they are Audio Technica ATH-2 under another name, but regardless, they sound lovely. A bit congested and the treble doesn't have much sparkle, but they have a sweetness that makes me wonder what the heck Japanese companies were thinking abandoning this technology. They don't do anything as well as most of the headphones I own or have owned (but then, I've only owned top-of-the-line models for the most part), but they have this relaxed and seductively detailed sound. And they have the weirdest adjustment mechanism where the headband has rails in which the earpieces click up and down.
The Pico Slim is the wrong amp for these kinds of headphones, but they sound lovely, not much differently so from in my main rig, so it's good enough. They remind me much of vintage Stax -- not because of the sound, but because of the incredible value. For under $100 (the price of a cheap and possibly somewhat nasty pair of new headphones) these old things, with their clear and seductive sound, can be had.
I can't help wondering if we wont ever see new orthodynamic headphones from the big manufacturers. Maybe the question is not so much whether it is possible but whether or not they would consider investing the R&D required when they already have done a huge amount for regular dynamic models. But then, Audeze and Hifiman managed it and they are tiny companies. I do hope they consider it again for the future, as they don't have to be big and heavy to sound good, nor be expensive, as Fostex has demonstrated.
We can only hope..
Edit: I found wualta's mod thread for them here.