I am dubious about the fact that this is a "system," and curious as to whether Sennheiser have really come up with a better "headphone" or rather a "system" where we do not know what is the respective contribution of the parts of the system. Whereas the original Orpheus could be run on other systems, this one may very well not be compatible with other equipment. As such Sennheiser may not have actually produced a better headphone, but rather a very refined and expensive "system."
It may very well be that some or all of the apparent quality of this system has more to do with the amp and dac than with the phones themselves. If it is not possible to test the phones away from the rest of the system it may be impossible to find out . Because the phones have some kind of built-in amplification in the earcups we may end up not knowing what is truly going on.
The use of amplification in the earcups is not a new idea, Koss did this in the 60's with its ESP 6 which had step-up transformers in the
earcups. Not quite identical but a definite conceptual resemblance.
For my part I have been exploring an unexamined problem with headphone design, namely mechanical resonance in the earcups, and I wonder if Sennheiser has got on top of this problem..
Earcup resonance iseems to be a universal problem. Drivers do not merely push energy out into the air ( and your ears) but in accordance with Newton's third law of physics, back into the earcup as well. How do I know this, because when I, and others add sorbothane damping material to the cups, sound can get a lot better, in timbre, dynamics and becomes less harsh. Sennheiser probably has some knowledge of this issue because they dropped a number of hints some years years ago in their adverts to the HD800. that resemble what us sorbers are doing.
They claimed to employ visco elastic damping, ( could be sorbothane) at least in the headband.
"The headband consists of a sandwich design in which a metal layer is covered with several layers of plastic. The high-tech plastic possesses incredible attenuation characteristics and ensures that oscillations are not transmitted to the headphone mountings. “
If they solved the resonance problem in these phones then I would tell anyone who is impressed by them that $1.00 worth of sorbothane can do remarkable things to your current phones. If there are still resonance issues with the new Senns then I would say save your money. You can buy some very fine upgrades to your system as well as a truckload of sorbothane for a lot less than $50,000.00.
I would be able to tell if Sennheiser got the resonance issue right by applying sorbothane to various locations on the phones, possibly inside the earcups. However this is something I doubt I will ever have the opportunity to do.
I should add that you can also get rid of a lot of vibrational resonance issues with the strategic application of sorbothane on amps, dacs and the like. The use of marble for this purpose seems gratuitous as does the motor driven lid, knobs etc. Just more expense and more things to eventually need repair.
In my opinion even though I am sure it is a good product this system does not represent good engineering, it is flashy and over-engineered and in consequence over-priced. And it remains to be seen how good the headphones are outside of the system.