1. Craig234
    How could they be rated anything but 5 stars?
    Written by Craig234
    Published Apr 27, 2018
    Pros - Clear, balanced sound without flaws. Comfortable and beautiful. The only reason I can think to own any other headphone with them is if it has its own distinct sound you want.
    Cons - Obviously, $70,000, and really, they are a bit bulky to own and use compared to other headphones. How long it might take to get past 'evaluating' the sound and just use them..
    I ran across the info that demos were available in San Francisco and booked one.

    They were able to play vinyl, but couldn't get an internet connection working, and had about 1-2 dozen albums to pick from.

    The obvious first pick for me was Dark Side of the Moon. Others were jazz or vocalist such as Norah Jones etc.

    They were both great and basically flawless. I agree with others they don't add something that makes you say 'these are so much better as to justify the price' - they aren't a 'new experience' like great headphones over bad ones are.

    These are simply for people who can afford to buy them and have the best and not worry about tradeoffs. But you can be perfectly happy with good headphones costing 1%-3% as much and not really miss much.

    I really liked hearing them. And I'm ok not having them. If anything, perhaps these can help a little with chasing 'the next big sound'.

    On the sound - they did everything right. The bass was as strong as you want, and not stronger. The mids were just right. And the highs were just as clear and sharp and well balanced with the sound as you'd want.

    So they were just great - but as you listen, there's also a bit of 'ok, so they're flawless'. But they don't really grab you more than that. All the quality components are somewhat lost in the final sound.

    There is a bit of listening for 'how good are they' and 'do I hear anything wrong' that takes away from just the pleasure of listening, in a demo.
  2. gordec
    The Sennheiser HE1, Music without Compromise
    Written by gordec
    Published Apr 5, 2018
    Pros - - Most natural presentation of music.
    - Unreal rendering of sound stage depth.
    Cons - - You will spend rest of your life chasing that sound.
    Life is full of compromises. When you start a family, you experience the fun and joy of raising your kids and watch them grow up, but you and your spouse lose the weekend freedom. You buy a SUV with all this cargo space, but you find yourself spending more time at the gas station than driving. Compromise no more, because your friendly neighbors at Sennheiser San Francisco say we are tired of compromises. We are going to create a headphone system without compromise. You get the best treble, vocals, bass with no unwanted peaks, cough HD800. It will have the best soundstage in terms of width and depth. The clarity and separation are unparalleled while maintaining a life-like natural and punchy sound. We make sure that every track you play sounds like you are sitting in the studio or venue with the artist. That’s what the HE1 is. A pair of cans without compromise.

    The Sennheiser HE1 is the first electrostatic headphone with a Class A MOS-FET high voltage amplifier integrated directly into the earcups. Apparently, this eliminates the capacitive reactance of the cable and delivers an ultra-high impulse fidelity 200% more efficient than any other solution currently found in headphones. Tiny 2.4-micrometer platinum-vaporized diaphragms are employed in the HE 1 since that precise size was shown by Sennheiser’s audio research to deliver the most optimal sound reproduction ability. With an audio range from 8 Hz to more than 100 kHz, and the lowest distortion ever measured in any sound reproduction system: 0.01% THD at 1 kHz, 100 dB SPL. To put things in perspective, the highly popular Hifiman HE1000 sports a frequency range of 8Hz-65KHz. Outstanding electrical and acoustical performance is further ensured through gold-vaporized ceramic transducers with 99.99 % silver-plated OFC cables for optimal signal conductivity. HE1 earcups are machined from solid lightweight aluminum with leather earpads.


    You can order the unit in white marble, black marble or even jade. I didn’t order one because they don’t offer elephant teeth as an option. I specifically asked for Madagascar elephant teeth. That was a bummer. But I have to say the black marble in the catalogue looked pretty slick. If you are friends with Elon Musk, you can invite yourself over to his house to listen to the HE1. Apparently, he was one of the first ones to order the HE1. I bet they sound surreal on Mars. Inside the marble, you get the best of tube amplifiers and transistor amplifiers. Their patent-pending circuit design with vacuum tubes connects to the spring-loaded, damped marble or jade housing to prevent structure-borne noise and surrounded by high-quality quartz bulbs that protect against airborne noise. Apparently this delivers an ultra-high impulse fidelity at an ultra-low distortion level. The integrated DAC uses 8 separate ESS SABRE ES9018 chips. You can also use your own external DAC and feed the amplifier via optical, coaxial, SPDIF, balanced XLR or unbalanced RCA inputs. You also get a second headphone out in the back if you buy 2 pairs of HE1. Oh wait, you can also custom build a pair of headphone out in the main cabin where the headphone is store, so you, your wife plus a friend can all listen together. Elon, where are you at bruh?


    Elon won’t return my call that day, so like every other reviewer, I had to go listen to the HE1 by booking a 30 minute listening session with San Francisco Sennheiser store. The store is a spot store, and they are only here temporarily. As of writing this article, this store is the only place in the entire US where you can audition the HE1.

    When I walked into the Sennheiser store, I was greeted by a modern blue hue. Their first floor had few of their lower-end headphones for visitors to listen to. One side of the wall had this interested wall mural of turn-table art work. A concierge will then take you to the second floor guarded by a security. You and the concierge are the only two people on the second floor listening room.

    Sennheiser wall art.jpg

    The first thing you see walking up there is the first Orpheus.


    They said they will set it up later this year for auditioning. When I set down on the couch, the HE1 system was placed next to an Ovation turn table for vinyl. The HE1 was sourced by a Macbook with Tidal installed. I brought my own Surface Pro 3 with test tracks. I unplugged the USB cable from the Macbook and plugged into the Surface Pro and fired up Jriver Media Center 23. The HE1 popped up right away with no driver necessary. The HE1 felt very comfortable. It doesn’t hug your head like the HD800 and is also heavier than the HD800. Compare to the HE1000 v2, the HE1’s earpads are slightly thicker and softer which feels slightly more comfortable to me. A push of the button on the remote, the cover the headphone house smoothly glides open. In harmony, the 4 front panel motorized knobs spirals out of the marble casing. Gradually the 8 tubes stacke d in 2 parallel lines glows softly whispering to you: “You can’t afford me, b***h.” The turning on experience alone was worth the trip.



    The test tracks I used are Rory Gallagher’s Do You Read Me, Tony Bennett’s My Favorite Things, A Trick of the Tail’s Squonk, Natalie Merchant’s Tigerlily, and Norah Jones’s Don’t Know Why. I think the biggest take home point with the HE1 sound is that it’s the most natural sounding experience I have had. Whether it’s the highs, vocals, or bass, everything sounds so real. The most impressive part is the depth of sound stage. I have never heard such 3D holographic imaging of stereo recordings before. For Rory Gallagher’s track, the vocals are way in the back, and that’s exactly what I heard. For Tony Bennett’s My Favorite Things, I can clearly experience him standing in the forefront of the stage and the band is around him. The second more impressive aspect is that the HE1 recreates awesome clarity and instrument separation but everything maintains very punchy. I also tried some poorly recorded tracks just to see if the HE1 exposes them or upgrades them. As I expected, the HE1 makes poorly recording tracks as good as you can because that life-like portrayal of music. My current home setup is McIntosh MHA100 using the integrated DAC -> HE1000 v2. I get about 80% of the HE1. The sound signature if the HE1 is much closer to the HE1000 than my HD800s. After I was done with all my tracks, my concierge put some vinyls on the Ovation turntable for me. I sampled some Norah Jones and Pink Floyd. I ended up with 45 min of listen with another 15 min of pictures time.


    I walked out of the Sennheiser store highly satisfied because I now know what is possible. However, inside I’m feeling all hot and bothered because I may be forever chasing the HE1 sound. I do think that sound is achievable because my current home system is not astronomically distant from the HE1. Perhaps there is a $10k-$20k system out there that can get you 95%+ of the HE1 sound. If you are in the Bay Area or are visiting San Francisco, make sure you book yourself a session because they are not here forever.
      seaice and raypin like this.
  3. bclark8923
    The Best Headphones I have yet to hear
    Written by bclark8923
    Published Mar 9, 2018
    Pros - Everything
    Cons - Price
    This review will be fairly short as I'm not a big writer but it was an amazing experience being able to enjoy these headphones in a quiet environment with my own music for a solid hour.


    Fortunately since I live in San Francisco, Sennheiser opened up a flagship store right downtown and you can book time with the HE 1 as often as you'd like! I setup my appointment and they have a very nice upstairs closed off area of their store there they have a great setup with the headphones and a macbook streaming tidal as well as a vinyl player and some music local to their laptop to pick from.


    I only snagged a couple (and forgot landscape, I'll update the pictures when I go back with better ones) but they are BEAUTIFUL.


    The Sound:

    This is where I was completely wowed. For reference I have heard the MrSpeakers Electrostats, Stax 009 out of BHSE, various high end Sennheiser, Hifiman, Audeze, etc. (many of them in my home setup). Currently I'm between things with headphones, just a liquid carbon, HD 650 and Gungnir Multibit at home but I mostly listen to speakers now a days (my setup is nearing $10k for that).


    I listened to a number of tracks featuring cymbals and hi-hats and nothing ever sound piercing or sibilant, everything was perfectly smooth and extremely detailed and extended. I tend to be somewhat sensitive to a sharp treble and had no issue at all with these.


    My go to here are James Blake and Adele. Both of them sounded sublime on the HE 1, voices carried without any sense of harshness, but carried the weight and range of both the lower and mid vocal notes from each.


    Oh bass, this is where there is so much contention among audiophiles. My song of choice here is Doin' it Right by Daft Punk. Having listened to this song many times on a REW balanced speaker system w/ a perfectly integrated sub I know how it feels in a room. The deep and heavy bass will either feel underwhelming and slightly rolled off (HD800) or overblown and boomy (Most basshead focused headphones). With the HE 1 it sounded like a perfect balance and extended all the way down to the lowest registers without ever getting boomy. Clean hard hitting bass that balanced perfectly with the mids/highs.


    The HE 1 has an amazing soundstage slightly smaller than the HD800. For this I use Paint it Black as the opening drums can give a great sense of the size. Where the HD800 can feel just a bit unreal in the size, these are perfect.


    For this two tracks I like to use are Dorset Perception by Shpongle and Brace Brace by Bonobo. Lots of varied instruments at different volume levels. The speed and dynamics of each instrument and placement was top notch. Every little detail around an instrument could be heard and the varied levels of sound all were extremely balanced.


    These are hands down the most balanced and real sounding headphones I've heard to date, there isn't any real flaw I could pick out where I can for most other headphones.

    Would I buy these? Only if I became a $100MM+ in net worth. Were they the best headphone setup I've heard to date? You betcha.
    1. View previous replies...
    2. gordec
      I'm in the Eastbay. Will call today to book an appointment. I didn't know they are even offering 1 hour listening sessions.

      Update: I booked a session in 2 weeks. But they only gave me 30 minutes.
      gordec, Mar 12, 2018
      bclark8923 likes this.
    3. Pokemonn
      probablly MSB technology select dac/amp/build in EQ + Stax SR-009 is the best headphone system as jude said before. just almost people can not afford it. lol
      Pokemonn, Mar 12, 2018
    4. bclark8923
      I made good friends with the guy at my session and he was happy to let me stay as long as I wanted! Depends on who's there when you demo
      bclark8923, Mar 13, 2018
    Orhpeus HE 1 - few hours that changed my life
    Written by SOULSIK
    Published Jul 18, 2017
    Pros - Concert like experience
    Cons - Price
    As special as this headphone is, I found it unfair for me to speak only of my thoughts. I believe impression from all my teammates compiled will give you more insight to what the Orpheus is all about. Before you go watch the video though, I would like to spoil it to you that what we all say have one thing in common and that is something close to a concert experience or even better. Not one but six people describing their concert-like experience, here we go:


    Now that you watched that video, I am sure there are people that are interested hearing about more of my opinion as a reviewer.


    The He 1 is a successor of the original sennheiser orhpeus which sennheiser announced its existence in 1991.


    The amplifier housing is made from solid block of Carrara marble. Not only beautiful but also prevents structure-borne noise. The control dial is milled from a single piece of brass before being plated with chrome.

    Being the first electrostatic headphone with a Cool Class A MOST-FET high voltage amplifier integrated into the earcups and 2.4 micrometer platinum-vaporized diaphragms, it delivers outstanding electrical and acoustical performance. The cable is also 99.9 percent silver plated OFC for optimal conductivity.

    A patent pending circuit design. Its vacuum tubes with high quality quartz bulbs that protect against air-borne noise this state-of-the-art amplifier delivers ultra-high impulse fidelity at an ultra-low distortion level. Uses 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.

    It came to me as a surprise as to why sennheiser chose the off the shelf Sabre dac in such an expensive and premium design. However, we all know that if it was integrated to perfection, it can very well be the best with its whipping number of 8 sabre dacs.

    Headphone felt heavy but comfortable. I did not feel like it was a trade off at all, considering the well distributed weight on the headband.


    Quite honestly, I have never heard anything close to what these headphone can do as of yet. The most comparable will be the HD800s and HD800 in sound signature and that is a BIG understatement. I would hopefully enter the world of electrostatic headphones and have something to compare the he 1 with.

    Low Frequencies: The low frequencies were impactful that extended very well. The sub bass was very present but did not color the rest of the frequencies at all. Quite remarkably, I felt like I was wearing a bass canon-type headphone and a midcentric headphone and high focused headphone all at one simultaneously. The bass is somewhat further than other headphones I own or have reviewed but with more impact, control and clarity. Overall, I want to almost say these are warm sounding headphone but I can’t as it is very different type of warmth with absolute clarity and transparency.

    Mid Frequencies: Every instrument outstandingly produced realistically. If you close yours eyes for a minute and forget the fact you are listening to a headphone, it is as if the artist himself is playing just for you, right in front of you. Every strum, every lip smack, and breathing can be heard and comes to you as a surprise that you are wearing headphones when you open your eyes. You tend to look back or left and right to see if that sound really came from the headphones themselves or someone was saying something or hit something by accident beside you. When you replay that section of the music, you hear the same thing and feel amazed as to how you heard new things that you’ve never heard before in your system that you thought was “good enough.” Male and female vocals sound realistic and natural, bringing you that perfect vocal presence in what you would expect from a vocal centered headphone. But again… nothing else fades even though the vocals are singing right into your ears.

    High Frequencies: Quite remarkably the most outstanding trebles I’ve ever heard. with everything again, being realistic as they can get. Also one thing to note other than the fact these are absolutely detailed headphones, is that vocal sibilance still exists in these headphone (5 to 8khz area) but it is produced in a way that is not bothersome but more realistic. What I mean is, on other headphones this becomes an annoyance but in the He 1, it felt as if I was at a concert. If you have ever been to a concert, vocal sibilance naturally occurs as artists articulate more than when they record on a pop filter (and other studio equipment). However, not many headphone can produce this vocal sibilance naturally and therefore becomes an annoyance. On the He 1, however, it is captured just the perfect amount as if you are at a concert.

    Soundstage and Imaging: Soundstage is the largest I’ve heard so far, resembling that of speakers and imaging does not fade nor become indistinct in some corners of the music. Everything is well balanced and placed. You do not need to really concentrate to know where a certain instrument is coming from as it will come at you weather you like it or not. Quite a remarkable experience.

    Below are all the photos:





  5. PeterPangea
    15 minutes of heaven
    Written by PeterPangea
    Published Nov 22, 2016
    Pros - Everything but the price
    Cons - Price
    Stopped by Bay Bloor Radio this weekend to audition the Sennheiser HE-1 Orpheus 2 set. Only had 15 minutes, so impressions are very much stream-of-consciousness. The Sennheiser rep played snippets of three test tracks, and I had time to play two/three more snippets of songs of my own choice (all lossless, TIDAL quality or higher). Here's some notable open-back setups I've had experience with as a frame of reference in addition to my current setup of Andromeda + Mojo. I know, source gear is pretty crap but school doesn't free much much disposable income for amps + DACs lol:

    HD800 + Burson HA160D
    Hifiman HE-X + Chord Mojo
    Audeze LCD-2 pre-fazor + Burson Conductor
    HD600/HD650 + Aune T1
    Build is great, as it should be. Sennheiser's work on their in-house pots paid off, as they are extremely smooth and nice to work. Comfort of the Orpheus 1 is extremely good, same level as the HD800 but with a slightly looser clamp. However, I wish the headphone design would be a bit more high-end through the use of a better finish.

    Can confidently say Orpheus is the best sounding headphone I've tried yet, as it should be. Has great speed and clarity, yet with a balanced sound sig with a slightly warm tilt. No glare like the HD800, I'd liken the sound signature more akin to HD650 but with much better speed, definition, separation, positioning and soundstage. Track-by-track impressions are below:

    Rep's demo tracks:

    Jeff Buckley - Hallelujah: Really shows off Orpheus' chops at handling male vocals. Captures Buckley's excellent vocals with a great sense of space. Melody provided a nice backdrop to vocals without getting in the way.

    Norah Jones - Come Away With Me: Honestly, see above but replace male with female vocals.

    Some world music which I don't have the ID of - Highlights the phone's strong capability to keep vocals + instrumentals separate. Beginning was a choral section where it was easy to pinpoint each member's contribution. Second part was a percussive swing song which got me tapping my toes, demonstrating the great PRaT (**** term I know lol).

    My personal picks:

    Kendrick Lamar - Backseat Freestyle: Much better bass slam than I expected. Hit hard for a headphone with no bleed. Kendrick's sometimes mumbly rap style was as legible as it's ever been. The bells in the intro had a great sense of sparkle.

    Kaskade & Deadmau5 - Move for me: Mau5' intro in the song was extremely rich and enveloping. Really breathy vocals, this track demonstrates the Orpheus 2's strong ability on highs without being fatiguing like the HD800 while keeping good bass slam.

    A classical piano piece I can't remember: You can pick out the coughs of the audience in the recording. Good tone and timbre of the keys. However, I still think for piano, $75,000 CAD would be better spent on a Yamaha grand + the services of a national-level piano player :)

    UItimately, these recaptured the magic of my first exposure to a high-end headphone set. Can't say the same about the other setups I've encountered. Definitely interested in owning a set if I ever hit big on Powerball.
    Pictures below:
    1. RERO
      I don't think 15 minutes is enough to write a review of any headphone, especially the Orpheus. In that 15 minutes your brain is probably still hung up on that fact that your head is wearing a $56,000 product, going full bias mode.
      That said, I did have similar comments about its sound. Though for some reason, the lasting impression of my 31-minute demo wasn't "omggg it's literally the best headphone everrr" but instead "It's alright, like a perfected HD 600." The headphone warming up was quite... bothersome.
      RERO, Nov 22, 2016
    2. PeterPangea
      Yeah, honestly I agree with you. That's why I titled the review the way it is and made the disclaimer at the beginning. Note that I didn't say Orpheus 2 is "omggg it's literally the best headphone everrr" but the best setup I've heard yet out of my admittedly fairly humble setups. Thanks for the feedback!
      PeterPangea, Nov 23, 2016