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The Sennheiser Orpheus 2? A First Look At The Sennheiser HE-1 (The New Orpheus)

Discussion in 'High-end Audio Forum' started by jude, Nov 3, 2015.
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  1. jibzilla
    There is that and the fact that Turntables and Speakers have already passed the $55k mark for quite sometime. I know if it were my $55k I would purchase something that is already established with plenty of review and whatever faults and strengths already well known so I know what to listen for when I demo them.
    There may not be any competition headphone wise for the Orpheus 2 other than maybe the 009 but I think sennheiser has underestimated just how many $55k TT's and Speakers are out there...quite a few.
    I would never buy anything $55k without demoing it but reviews do help so you can get an idea of what said product excels at or stinks at. Very few reviews at this point and it has been out for a while and yeah crying does nothing for me.
  2. CanDude
    I'm only helping out with the guest speakers...
  3. CanDude
    Nah... but I wonder what will happen if I happen to sit on on the Orpheus amp while powering it on... [​IMG]
  4. up late
    @jibzilla- i doubt that sennheiser would have even considered that, let alone underestimated it. it's not their concern. their objective was purely to improve upon the original orpheus.
  5. Sal1950
    The last Stereophile listed at least 2 turntables at or over $200,000. LOL
    IMHO many purchasers of the 1060 will not have SQ at the top of their requirement list. At least as much so will be the 
    way it appears on the equipment rack next to that beautful $200k Continuum machined aluminum work of art. These folks have an image to uphold.
  6. Johnny Moondog
    I had fun reading everything I could find on the new Orpheus. And wanted to make sure people who follow this thread have had the opportunity to read what's been written thus far about the actual listening experience. Posts to follow this one...
  7. Johnny Moondog
    The $55,000 Orpheus Aren't Just The Best Headphones Ever, They're A Legal High!
    It’s wearing off now, but not long ago my arms were literally tingling as I was rushed through one of the most visceral audio experiences I’ve ever had. The conveyance for this sonic gut punch to the senses: A $55,000 moonshot from the German headphone artisans at Sennheiser, called Orpheus.
    My experience began with Peter Gabriel’s Sky Blue, from his 2001 album Up. Things started out commonly enough, as the song ramped up slowly, feeling almost like the suspenseful click of a sky-scraping roller coaster as you make your way towards the summit. Then the song began to build and, quite suddenly, I felt the hair stand up on my arms. I was experiencing something near a body high, almost looking for something to hang on to as the Orpheus and I barreled steeply into the heart of the song at full speed.
    Every breath from Gabriel’s voice, every sandy click of percussion, and the crux of every string and key stroke was vividly exposed among the cacophony of sounds. But that part of the experience wasn’t what struck me — as an audio engineer I’ve spent countless hours in studio control rooms, listening to live recordings through $250,000 sound boards, and $60,000 ATC monitors, and as reviewer, I’ve also had my fair share of epic headphone experiences, including Sennheiser’s original Orpheus. No, what really shocked my well-worn ears was the Orpheus’ near-supernatural transient response as each note was flung forth with instantaneous force. Turning the silver control knob brought about distortion-free velocity like boiling-hot water from a flash heater — the seemingly limitless power from the Orpheus amplifiers outlined a dynamic tour de force in the song, flinging every drop and swell in volume at my ears with brilliant precision and tactile clarity.
    Interestingly, the next song on my list, Michael Jackson’s Thriller, brought things back down to earth a bit. Make no mistake, the intricacies of Quincy Jones’ rich mélange of percussion and synthesizers were dashing, but I was left feeling something like a junkie craving that same fix I’d just experienced through a mix of the Orpheus and the meticulous work of Mr. Gabriel’s ridiculous recording acumen. (The man owns pro audio company SSL, after all.)
    As such, I called an audible for my third song, trading my original selection of an acoustic track for the frenetic whims of Radiohead’s Paranoid Android — and I was not disappointed. While the entire experience was nothing less than riveting — literally inducing a jaw drop from yours truly — the money shot of the track came (unsurprisingly to those familiar with the tune) from Jonny Greenwood’s second solo tirade on guitar, which put the Orpheus’ astronomical frequency response to the test in rich, glistening waves of electric bliss.
    Those questioning whether the sound the Orpheus reproduces is worthy of shelling out $55,000 are asking the wrong question. Would I love to have the Orpheus waiting for me each night, sitting next to a crushed leather chair and a glass of bourbon, ready to take me to the land of sonic reverence? You’re *******ed right I would.
    Source: Digital Trends
  8. Johnny Moondog
    I Listened To Sennheiser's Absurd $55,000 Orpheus Headphones
    The new hardware’s 20 years in the making. Real, real serious ****. I’m trying hard to concentrate on the music — trying to give this crazy thing the severe attention I think it deserves. But I keep laughing my ass off.
    Sitting down in front of headphones like these, you can’t help but feel the force of history, and the intensity of the design. This is a ******* thing. I put on the headphones.
    Which brings me to why I’m laughing. It’s not because these headphones are preposterous and absurd, it’s because they sound that damn good.
    For years I’ve heard product designers and audiophiles describe being so overcome with emotion at the beauty of sound that they cry. I’ve always thought it was ********. When I hear music that moves me, I don’t want to cry, I want to laugh. It’s ******* funny, man! Music!
    To be a little more specific, the headphones are startlingly clear in their reproduction. Sennheiser asked me in advance to name a few tracks I like so reps could pull a good file. I gave them Bowie’s Space Oddity and New Order’s Age of Consent. I know these songs well enough, and I’ve listened to them with so many different headphones that I’m past the point where I’m going to hear something new in them.
    Space Oddity is very well known for it’s binaural recording. Bowie’s main melody and harmony are panned left and right, and the various parts are recorded such that a good reproduction will create a very realistic spatial image. The Orpheus reproduced perhaps the most striking image I’ve ever heard on this song. Every piece of the band is in its own place, and in particular, hearing the rubbery plunk of the beautiful bass line all on its own is sigh-inducing.
    Age of Consent isn’t nearly as meticulous a recording, but it’s probably my favorite song of all time. The thing to listen to here are drummer Stephen Morris’ super fast hi-hat shimmies. On an inferior reproduction they’ll start to blend together into a wall of shinning cymbal. On the Orpheus, you can hear each hit distinctly, with its unique ring.
    It was in listening to these hi-hat hits on Age of Consent that I realized I was staring out into space not blinking and barely breathing. I was subconsciously trying not to move thinking that I might disturb the perfection of the sound. In a little over five minutes I’d been so taken by the sonics that basically everything else had stopped existing. And so yeah I laughed. Because come on, $55,000 sound, man — this is ridiculous.
    Source: Gizmodo
  9. Johnny Moondog
    The Week My Life Changed – Sennheiser Orpheus
    I have listened to the original Orpheus quite a number of times during shows and while it certainly is a very good system it has never really wowed me that much. After I listened to it for the very first time, I wrote I expected angels to come down from heaven but that just never happened. It probably would have had I listened to it in the nineties though, at that time the original was just as astonishing as the successor is today. The “old” Orpheus still is good but with the new technology available today the differences between the Orpheus and the high-end gear available on the market – such as the Stax 009 – isn’t that impressive any more.
    The new Orpheus IS impressive. It’s a completely new amplifier design which combines the best of tube and transistor amplifiers to provide the ultimate audio experience. Patented high-voltage amplifiers, which are integrated directly into the cups of the headphones, increase efficiency by 200% over other solutions currently available. It’s superb, believe me.
    I was fortunate to get to listen to the Orpheus for about an hour and half. Yes, getting there early paid off. Sennheiser suggested bringing your own music and so my trusted AK240 joined me on the trip. I connected my optical cable to the DAC on the rear of the unit and ready I was.
    Let me be clear: The new Orpheus destroys everything you ever listened to before. I’m not just saying this, there just is no other way to put it. It’s without doubt the very best setup I have ever listened to. Period. This time the angels came and they were prettier than I had ever imagined they would be. My wife said: “For a minute there I think you were going to cry”. Yup.
    One of the most enjoyable things when you get into this hobby is that better gear will show things in your favorite music that you have never heard before. After years of writing reviews and listening to (high end) gear, that feeling kind of faded away and I accepted that. I never thought I’d get that feeling again but the new Orpheus proved me wrong. Thank you Sennheiser, thank you so very much for that.
    After 1.5 hours it isn’t easy to give you an in depth analysis of what the Orpheus really sounds like. The experience is just so overwhelming. Its definition, depth, width and layering is beyond anything you have ever heard before. It just sounds so detailed, dynamic, airy and natural. I never imagined anything could sound this good, this perfect. Orpheus sounds fast, tight, and shows you a sound stage you have never experienced before. It’s hard to put into words what Sennheiser has done and you might not believe me but one day when you yourself get to listen to the new Orpheus, you’ll think back to this day and say: ”Yeah, he was right”.
    Vocals on this system sound extremely good and most of all incredibly realistic. I could swear Michael Jackson came back from the dead and was singing in that same room. Especially with the cross feed set on low, all music sounded so realistic. I don’t think I have ever heard violins sound this real, this good. Bass goes deep while keeping its detail with sublime layering. Could bass be more perfect? I doubt it. Treble is very extended but it’s never too much, it’s just how it’s supposed to be: lively, detailed and addictive. Orpheus’ balance and 3-dimensionality is breath taking but it will punish you for using low quality files. Orpheus doesn’t forgive.
    During my listening session I tried as much genres as I possibly could: classical, jazz, rock, metal, pop, ballads, you name it. From Mozart to Melody Gardot to Sepultura, Orpheus did it all with the same ease and with the best of result.
    What people have been asking me most is: “Is it worth $55K?”. And when I tell them it might be, they all say I’m crazy. The thing is that it is incredibly hard to put a price tag on all this. It clearly is the best I have ever heard, but is it $40K better than your high end home setup? That’s something only you can answer. Personally, if I were to win the lottery this weekend, I would immediately order one, no doubt about that. Make that two.
    Source: Headfonia
    Ultrainferno likes this.
  10. Johnny Moondog
    Sennheiser Orpheus HE 1060: New Holy Grail Of Headphones
    Sennheiser named it after Orpheus, a Greek musician who played music beautifully, yet was literally ripped apart by people who couldn’t understand it.
    Invited to test this £35,000 model in the soundproofed basement of a London hotel, despite being an avid music fan, the thought of using a set-up more expensive than what I’m likely to ever spend on a car was oddly intimidating.
    Just to put this into perspective, instead of these headphones, you could buy a house in some parts of Wales, a brand new Audi TT or a year-long round the world holiday.
    Sank back in the chair, eyes closed, headphones on, the undulating, syncopated rise of Pink Floyd’s Welcome to the Machine began. Each instrument and synth track spread out in a soundscape vaster than was even imaginable when the song was produced, as the HE1060s surpass even studio monitors in precision and distortion reduction.
    A common remark after using the Orpheus is that it’s like being in the studio with the artist, but it’s truly better than this. The incredible frequency range (8Hz to 100kHz), in-cup amplifiers and four channels in parallel for each studio side make it much closer to having the studio engineer curate and collate every element just for you.
    As the song progressed, adding layers and building slowly, the stand-out difference between the HE90 and the new HE1060 came into its own. The in-cup amplifiers mentioned above allows the voltage in the headphone cable to be greatly reduced, which in turn reduces impedance and distortion by equal measure.
    With the headphones off and trundling back to the office through the significantly less pleasant soundscape of Oxford Street, I tried to work out how to discuss value for money, or how many times better they were than a £50 or a £500 set, but a product like this is the exception.
    It’s almost incomprehensible for me to consider spending that much on this, even when taking into account the phenomenal quality so exceptional that it ruined my enjoyment of regular headphones.
    However, if I had a million I’d buy it in an instant, which is why I’ll be pawning my current headgear for lottery tickets.
    Source: Mobile Choice
  11. Johnny Moondog
    We Tested The $55,000 Headphones From Sennheiser And This Is What We Heard
    Let me start by saying, if you can afford these headphones, they are definitely worth it.
    I was able to actually listen to one of the 3 existing Orpheus headphones in the world and let me say this... I was absolutely blown away. I am an audiophile, I listen to music almost all day and have listened on almost anything you can imagine from iPhone headphones to Genelec 8351As and beyond, but I can honestly say the Orpheus experience was euphoric.
    I listened to everything from Radiohead, to Michael Jackson and even Beethoven. The most amazing thing about the experience is that I clearly heard new parts in songs that I had listened to hundreds of times. It was as if it were my first time hearing them. Everything in the mix was crystal clear, I closed my eyes and completely immersed myself in the music.
    Source: Magnetic Magazine
  12. Johnny Moondog
    Sennheiser Orpheus HE1060 vs HE90 vs HD800
    It seems almost pointless to talk about the sound quality in the terms we do for, say, £70 headphones. There are no major flaws in the Sennheiser Orpheus HE1060’s sound. It is, obviously, awesome.
    The texture and realistic ‘weight’ of the mid-range gives vocals an authenticity you just don’t hear often, the bass is effortless and powerful. The treble is natural and precise. It has the detail of headphones with a trebly emphasis, without having any obvious focus in that area.
    Instrument separation is terrific and compared to much of the HD range, the presentation is much more up-front. It’s not dark or flat-sounding like some of the mid-level Sennheiser open-back sets.
    In classic sound demo style I listened to some Pink Floyd and some jazz through the Sennheiser Orpheus HE1060. The most obvious win is how good they are at maintaining a sense of airiness and coherence at the lowest registers. It’s remarkable stuff.
    If you’re reading this there’s a good chance you’re a bit of a headphone nerd. And for that crowd the big question here is how this pair compares to the old Orpheus from way back in 1991, and Sennheiser’s more conventional HD800.
    The answer is that the HE1060 are fairly similar to the HE90. I got to try that pair a couple of years ago, and the rich tone was instantly recognizable.
    I’m working on pretty old memories at this point — Sennheiser didn’t have the new and old models to try side-by-side — but the bass in the new pair seems to be significantly improved. Or at least more closely controlled, to appear a smidge more natural.
    Ultimately, the Sennheiser Orpheus HE1060 are absolutely Orpheus reborn.
    The differences between the HE1060 and HD800 are far more obvious. It’s no surprise because they’re totally different. This is an electrostatic set, which uses a very large 2.4 micron thick driver where the HD800 has dynamic drivers. Those are ‘normal’ drivers.
    Contrary to what you might assume, the HD800 actually have a significantly larger sound stage, and will seem more obviously ‘epic’ at first listen. I’ve never heard an electrostatic headphone that’s managed to rival the ginormous scale of the HD800. They also have much more a sense of delivering micro-detail than the HE1060.
    However, the Sennheiser Orpheus are much more ‘real’ sounding, and much more honey-glazed, without any of the sugary softness that often comes with. The HE1060 are much better, but they are also very different, offering a different kind of thrill.
    Ultra-fine control and ultra-low distortion mean these are headphones you should definitely experience if you get the chance. Exactly how you might get to is a mystery though. You’ll probably never know anyone who owns a pair and you’re not going to see these ready to audition down at your local John Lewis any time soon.
    Source: Trusted Reviews
  13. Johnny Moondog
    Sennheiser Orpheus Hands On
    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 minimize 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, 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 equalized.
    The emphasis on eliminating distortion has paid off. What you get is effortless insight. The subtlest details are eloquently presented and made so abundantly 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.
    Source: What Hi-Fi?
  14. Johnny Moondog
    Sennheiser Orpheus Headphones, An Ears-On Listening Test
    I got to listen to the original Orpheus three years ago at CES, and it sounded magnificent. The audio was impeccably clean and rich. Today I listened to the 2015 model.
    They don’t just sound better. They sound a lot better.
    Last week Sennheiser asked me to give them three songs I know well so they could download lossless versions of them and have them ready for my demo. I picked the Intro track off of Speakerboxxx by Outkast, Nude by Radiohead, and the Lacrimosa from Mozart’s Requiem Mass. Seemed like I’d have a good range in there. Unfortunately they couldn’t find a lossless version of Nude, so I went for 2+2=5, also by Radiohead. These are all tracks I’ve listened to hundreds of times, and in each instance I heard things I’ve never heard before.
    On the Intro track for Speakerboxxx, what struck me was the sense of space. There were swoops that started in my right ear, passed back behind my head and ended up to the left of me. But what’s even more incredible is the speed of the headphones. Yes, speed. Dynamic headphones have diaphragms that move, which is how the audio is created. In electrostatic headphones (like the Orpheus) the diaphragm can move much, much faster. You wouldn’t think the difference would be noticeable, but you would be wrong. Despite this track having ultra-quick snares, each hit has a beginning, a middle, and an end, and on the Orpheus they don’t blend together at all. I’ve never heard anything so crisp.
    The bass line on the Intro track is big and low, with quick pulses that can bog down lower-end subwoofers. The Orpheus doesn’t have a big, fat bottom — and by that I mean that the bass isn’t over exaggerated like it is with most modern systems (we like the boom) — but every note is there, as clear as day. In fact, the Orpheus is capable of producing sound all the way down to 8Hz, which is lower than humans can hear. When I’m listening on a big stereo system I like to feel the bass in my chest, but what the Orpheus offers is balance. No one frequency overwhelmed any of the others.
    The best test, though, was 2+2=5. It’s just such a wonderfully complex piece of music and it really let the Orpheus show off. Again, those quick light drum hits come across so clearly, and there’s a great sense of space, but then the vocals kicked in and I couldn’t get the grin off my face. You could hear every bit of air that comes out of Thom Yorke’s mouth — every puff, every sibilant. I heard nuances in the quiet harmonies that I’d never noticed before. The sound of the plastic pick clacking against the guitar strings came through sharp and clear. It had an amazing feeling of being in the room of a live recording. It really was beautiful, and if I closed my eyes it was hard to not feel transported.
    It was the same story with Mozart’s Lacrimosa. I felt as if I were standing in front of a full choir that wrapped around me. I could hear breath in a way that I’d never heard it on that track. It just felt like I was there, and that everything was perfectly balanced.
    After the demo, I spoke with Axel Grell, Sennheiser’s head acoustic engineer who spent the last 10 years perfecting the new Orpheus, and he confirmed what I had suspected. The goal of the Orpheus was to create headphones that had no profile of their own. The aim was to get to a perfectly linear response, so you’re not hearing what the headphones’ interpretation of the music is, you’re hearing the music as it was recorded and mixed. I know that sounds like marketing hype, but after listening to it, I think that Sennheiser has come closer to achieving this platonic ideal of audio than anything else I’ve heard.
    Source: WIRED
  15. Johnny Moondog
    The All-New Sennheiser Orpheus Electrostatic Headphone/Amplifier System Wows The Audiophiliac
    For my listening session in New York City on Tuesday, I loaded a USB drive with familiar tunes to evaluate the Orpheus. I'll tell you upfront the sound was, in many ways, more realistic than I've heard before. Sound "barriers" were indeed broken!
    I was taken aback by the sound of brass instruments, which were incredibly present and alive, and cymbals' metallic sheen was brilliant. I've never heard better.
    Orpheus' effortless dynamics pushed the state of the art to new highs, and bass definition was no less thrilling. Stereo sound staging was fine, but not as wide or spacious as I've heard from the HiFiMan HE1000 or even Sennheiser's HD800 headphones.
    Source: C|NET
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