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History of headphones - a good article

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 

This in an interesting article in the SMH re the history of headphones - previously on Mashable.  Has anyone heard the Orpheus?

 

http://www.smh.com.au/digital-life/mp3s/listen-up-a-brief-history-of-headphones-20120927-26mjx.html

post #2 of 21

Kinda' cool, but they've left out a bunch of good companies. I've been drooling over the Orpheus for some time now. You should check out the Stax SR-009. That's currently holding the "best headphone to date" title with a lot of audiophiles. I haven't heard those either, though. I'm currently waiting for my money tree to sprout.


Edited by Origin89 - 9/27/12 at 8:26pm
post #3 of 21

Didn't the Orpheus come out several years ago?

post #4 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marximus View Post

Didn't the Orpheus come out several years ago?

 

I actually think the first consumer model (HEV60) was released in the late '90s

post #5 of 21

Yeah, there's a review on Stereophile from 1994.

post #6 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Origin89 View Post

I actually think the first consumer model (HEV60) was released in the late '90s

HEV60 != Orpheus. Orpheus is the HE90 + HEV90. HE60/HEV70 is the "Baby O" and one of a few Sennheiser electrostat models. There's a thread on Orpheus in Summit-Fi for those interested.

Article is missing a lot:

- John Koss didn't actually design/invent the SP3 by himself, his co-worker/engineer Martin Lange is often credited with that (my understanding is that John Koss is like the Steve Jobs of headphones; Koss Corp is not a one man show is the point).

- Eugen Beyer invented stereo dynamic headphones in 1937, the Beyerdynamic DT48. They are likely to end production this year due to reported supply issues.

- Orpheus came out in the 1990s and cost nowhere near $40,000 (that's higher than any used gouge I've ever seen); I think actual MSRP was something around $9500.

- Should also mention the Koss ESP/6 or the first STAX (SR-1 I think), as the first electrostatic headphones (it's contested as to which one is actually "first" - and they're fairly different designs too).

- Could also mention Sony's invention of woodies, with the MDR-R10, as well as the bio-cellulose drivers they developed for them. In fact, there's a lot of Sony contributions that should be mentioned.

- The significance of Grado and Sennheiser on the development of the high-end headphone market should also be mentioned on some level.

- Ultrasone and Audio-Technica should at least be mentioned somewhere (they've both contributed a lot, AT more than Ultrasone (AT also has some 30 years on Ultrasone)); Yamaha and Toshiba as well, for their isodynamic and electret headphones.
post #7 of 21

Nice entry level knowledge into the world of headphones, nothing more I think for this article.

 

No offense for Apple fans but when you include the iBuds and Earpods (heard they are good for the price) into the history of headphones, then you can see that the article is just hyping up the release of the new stuff (Earpods specifically).

 

Surprised that even Grado was not mentioned in the article...

post #8 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by AbsoluteZero View Post

Nice entry level knowledge into the world of headphones, nothing more I think for this article.

 

No offense for Apple fans but when you include the iBuds and Earpods (heard they are good for the price) into the history of headphones, then you can see that the article is just hyping up the release of the new stuff (Earpods specifically).

 

Surprised that even Grado was not mentioned in the article...


Yeah it did feel like it left a lot of stuff out. I was hoping id get to hear the history of these companies and what products they all started out making and how that affected the market and brought to where we see it today. (I mean aside from beats and ibuds)

post #9 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by obobskivich View Post


HEV60 != Orpheus. Orpheus is the HE90 + HEV90. HE60/HEV70 is the "Baby O" and one of a few Sennheiser electrostat models. There's a thread on Orpheus in Summit-Fi for those interested.
Article is missing a lot:
- John Koss didn't actually design/invent the SP3 by himself, his co-worker/engineer Martin Lange is often credited with that (my understanding is that John Koss is like the Steve Jobs of headphones; Koss Corp is not a one man show is the point).
- Eugen Beyer invented stereo dynamic headphones in 1937, the Beyerdynamic DT48. They are likely to end production this year due to reported supply issues.
- Orpheus came out in the 1990s and cost nowhere near $40,000 (that's higher than any used gouge I've ever seen); I think actual MSRP was something around $9500.
- Should also mention the Koss ESP/6 or the first STAX (SR-1 I think), as the first electrostatic headphones (it's contested as to which one is actually "first" - and they're fairly different designs too).
- Could also mention Sony's invention of woodies, with the MDR-R10, as well as the bio-cellulose drivers they developed for them. In fact, there's a lot of Sony contributions that should be mentioned.
- The significance of Grado and Sennheiser on the development of the high-end headphone market should also be mentioned on some level.
- Ultrasone and Audio-Technica should at least be mentioned somewhere (they've both contributed a lot, AT more than Ultrasone (AT also has some 30 years on Ultrasone)); Yamaha and Toshiba as well, for their isodynamic and electret headphones.

 

Good info. So, you're saying the original Orpheus is the 90, and the 60 & 70 are the Baby O?

post #10 of 21

obobskivich should write an article on headphones, this linked article did seem a bit lightweight, but still worth a read.  

post #11 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Origin89 View Post

Good info. So, you're saying the original Orpheus is the 90, and the 60 & 70 are the Baby O?

70 isn't a headphone. It's an amplifier (HEV is an amplifier, HE is a headphone).



That system, the amp is called HEV70. They are commonly called "Baby O" but I don't think Sennheiser actually marketed them as such. There's also an older (ca 1980s) Sennheiser electrostat, Unipolar 2000. If memory serves the HE60 system was price competitive with the STAX LNS and Koss ESP/950, around that $1200-$1600 mark.
post #12 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by obobskivich View Post

There's also an older (ca 1980s) Sennheiser electrostat, Unipolar 2000.

 

Two - Unipolar 2000 and Unipolar 2002. 2000 came out in the late '70s while the 2002 apparently followed not much later.

post #13 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by vid View Post

Two - Unipolar 2000 and Unipolar 2002. 2000 came out in the late '70s while the 2002 apparently followed not much later.

Wanted to correct an error (your mention of the 2002 got me thinking about it), the 2000 series are electrets, not electrostatics. I am not sure what the difference between the 2000 and 2002 specifically is, as they use the same transformer component (HER2000), you can read more about it here: http://www.gramophone.net/Issue/Page/July%201978/129/791424/

They are claimed to be the first electrets on the market by Sennheiser, and indeed date to 1977 (thanks for catching that one). These are unrelated to the HE60 and HE90 (and since I dug out the history, the HE90 were released in 1991).
post #14 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by obobskivich View Post

Wanted to correct an error (your mention of the 2002 got me thinking about it), the 2000 series are electrets, not electrostatics. I am not sure what the difference between the 2000 and 2002 specifically is, as they use the same transformer component (HER2000), you can read more about it here: http://www.gramophone.net/Issue/Page/July%201978/129/791424/
They are claimed to be the first electrets on the market by Sennheiser, and indeed date to 1977 (thanks for catching that one). These are unrelated to the HE60 and HE90 (and since I dug out the history, the HE90 were released in 1991).

 

You've created an error in correcting what was already correct: electrets are electrostats. Saying they aren't is like saying the Senn HD 800 isn't a dynamic because the driver has a hole in the middle.

 

The Unipolars aren't the first electrets as far as I know - I think it was something about them being the first unipolar electrets or something like that, but I'm not sure that that's true either.

post #15 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by vid View Post

You've created an error in correcting what was already correct: electrets are electrostats. Saying they aren't is like saying the Senn HD 800 isn't a dynamic because the driver has a hole in the middle.

Electrets have a permanent charge - electrostats do not (and rely on an external bias supply). They are similar but different. The HD 800 comparison isn't really related imho (ring radiators are a type of dome driver, and while they have different radiation and performance characteristics than conventional cones, they are still very much dynamic transducers).

More info:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Headphones#Electret


Quote:
The Unipolars aren't the first electrets as far as I know - I think it was something about them being the first unipolar electrets or something like that, but I'm not sure that that's true either.

Sennheiser claims the Unipolar 2000 was the first open-back Electret headphone on the market. I believe Audio-Technica (and perhaps STAX) released models around the same time period, and just like the invention of the electrostatic headphone, there are competing claims to who got there first. redface.gif
Edited by obobskivich - 9/29/12 at 4:47am
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