Over 25 years after Sennheiser created history with its iconic Orpheus HE90, a $16,000 headphone system complete with a custom amplifier.
Over 25 years after Sennheiser created history with its iconic Orpheus HE90, a $16,000 headphone system complete with a custom amplifier, the German audiomaker is bringing to India the limited edition HE 1 with a princely price tag of Rs 45,00,000. Yes, you read that right. This headphone cost more than popular models from German audiomakers like Audi and BMW. Talking to IndianExpress.com about the new headphone, Sennheiser CEO Andreas Sennheiser said: “The HE 1 is the successor of the legendary Orpheus. In 1991-92, when we launched the original one, it was the pinnacle of what was possible physically at the time. But we also knew what compromises we made at the time. The engineers always had that at the back of their minds and wanted to change things for the better.”
Sennheiser, who now heads the family business, said the engineering team started thinking of the HE 1 a decade ago when they realised they could find solutions for the compromises of the past. “Our approach was not to max out one area where we optimise, but really everything, at the same time… to improve one hundred tiny little bits so that at the end we get the perfect product, and the the best sound reproduction system that exists.”
Sennheiser HE 1 aren’t really a pair of headphones. These headphones come with a pre-amp and DAC housed in Carrara marble, producing a frequency response that extends beyond the range of human hearing (8 Hz to over 100 kHz). Each headset consists over 6,000 individual components, including gold-vaporised ceramic electrodes and platinum-vaporised diaphragms.
Andreas said the number of units of the HE 1 is not specifically limited. “it’s limited by our production capacity of just doing one per day.” The Orpheus HE90 had just 300 units. Sennheiser HE 1 is not all about the premium price tag, it’s also about giving people a reason to own the “best and finest headphones in the world” through the added customisation programme. Essentially, if you want to own the HE 1, Sennheiser will let you customise the headphones. You can choose a different material, maybe another stone, or you have something engraved on the headphones.
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Like any high-end luxury product, Sennheiser is taking a more specific approach to reach out to potential customers and is convinced that when they think of a luxury brand, they are likely to associate it with an experience. The Sennheiser HE 1 will not be sold through retail outlets and customers will need to call a sales representatives who will then organise a listening experience before they commit to the hefty payment.
On the price tag, which in any Indian city could get you a decent apartment, Sennheiser underlined his target audience: “There are two different types of people; one who is a traditional audiophile, who’d rather not have a car but this. The other group consists of young audiophiles, those who have already achieved a lot and love to surround themselves with the best products.” Sennheiser is convinced that this target group exists in India.