Sennheiser's newest headphones, the range-topping HD800, were launched last night at the Sydney Opera House.
In the Utzon Room attendees were invited to test the new class-leading headphones with a variety of musical styles. Music ranging from The Police to Australian artist Gurrumul to ukulele prodigy Jake Shimabukuro was available at several listening stations.
Most stations were equipped with Bryston BCD-1 Super Audio CD players and Lehmann Audio Black Cube Linear headphone amplifiers. One station used a USB version of the Lehmann Audio amplifier and an Apple MacBook Pro (15in), running iTunes and playing Apple Lossless versions of the available audio CDs.
Sennheiser's newest model has a completely new transducer design. This 'ring' transducer is able to control minute vibrations in a far superior manner to conventional transducer designs, allowing for incredibly pure and distortion-free audio. The 56mm transducer is the largest of its type.
The Sennheiser HD800 headphones have an open design, with a frequency range of 14-44100Hz within a -3dB variation. An impedance of 300 Ohms means they must be run from a dedicated amplifier, while a total harmonic distortion level of <0.02% means there is no loss of frequency response or crackling at high volume levels.
The headphones have specially designed Japanese alcantara ear-cups for maximum comfort and a single pivot point allows the headphones to adjust themselves to a wearer's head. The headphones are assembled at Sennheiser's headquarters in Germany.
Perfection comes at a price, though — the Sennheiser HD800 has an RRP of $2399.95 and is available from Syntec International.