Well part of that price tag goes to amortizing the freaking movie they made for the website! And they made a tube amp out of Carrara marble! So its a lifestyle product and a 250 unit production run I'm sure it will sell out very quickly. $55K may be crazy money to you and me but for many its in their discretionary income. So I would say kinda cool and kinda crass both at the same time.
You guys are missing the point, $50K headphones are not aimed at audiophiles they are aimed at rich folk who want the latest cool blinged out gadget. And trust me Sennheiser has been around a long time if they don't think they could sell 250 units they wouldn't have made them.
Schubert, Kijanki was just making a joke, a good one at that. $55k headphones are messed up, even in a world of $1mil Porsches cruising down the highway.
On a side note, I agree with Schubert regarding the moral dilemma on this one; I doubt that the people blowing $55k on headphones are donating to good causes...enogh. Shoot, if you're blowing $55k on headphones you should have donated at least $500k to good causes... Thats like me giving $25 to the homeless ($250 Sennheisers...do the math).
Just the fact that now there is the wide open gap. Difference b/w the the next highest priced headphones is around $5K, 1/10th the price. So, in the coming years, headphone manufacturers will be filling the gap.
Forget the amp that's being paired and sold as a set, one can find creative ways to fit the bill ;)
One has to take the plunge to test the market, and Seinheisser as a company can do it. If all 250 disappear in the following months, then whola 😬
We live in a country where $100,000,000+ homes are not uncommon, where there are production cars priced at $1,400,000 and there are a half dozen watches that are more expensive than that car. Why should the price of these headphones raise eyebrows? Is it any more outrageous than a pair of $1,500 socks?
You are 100% right. These headphones are geared for the rich. They are definitely not made for audiophiles. ( sure there are a few rich audiophiles that might buy them, but not many)
I am sure you will see ads for them in the DuPont registry and the Robb report. That is the market for outrageous priced things. I just got the DuPont registry and there are a ton of ads not car related. Just expensive items for rich people. That is their market.
I'm with you Onhwy61. When a single Modigliani sells for $170+ million, to a former taxi driver turned billionaire, $50K for headphones seems par for the course. $50K headphones are like $100 hamburgers...pricey, and not something I'd spend my money on, but far from crazy in the grand scheme of today's world.
@B_limo - I think your math is off. If you think someone is only morally "justified" spending $50K on headphones if they've also donated $500K to charity, that means on an equivalent basis you have to give $2500 to charity, not $25 (if you spent $250 on your headphones). And unless we're hypocritical, we'd have to apply that standard across the board, and I'm not going to start asking people who proudly announce their new $1000 speakers if they also gave $10K to charity first. Unless we think affluent people have a greater moral imperative than less-affluent people, which I don't. Then again, who is John Galt?
My previous comment was intended to point out that the Sennheisers simply represent the world we live in. Personally I think the items I listed are somewhat ridiculous and that there are better uses for society's limited resources. Apparently the world is not yet perfect.
Rich people hording their money is far worse for the rest of the people than if they spent the money, even if it is for obscenely expensive luxury goods. That money that Sennheiser makes on the headphones is a part of its income that pays salaries, as does the margin that the dealer and distributor makes. The "waste" of paying far more than the phones are "worth" goes somewhere, it is not really wasted in the sense that it disappears and does nothing more.
I know that most audiophiles do not consider headphones as serious audio gear, but, to a growing number of people, headphones are their favored means of listening. A combination of transducer and amp that costs $55,000 in the speaker world is quite high, but, it really isn't that uncommon; why should it be any different for phones?
I would certainly like to hear them, even though I would never consider a purchase. I like their prior electrostatic offerings (HE-60 and HE-90), but find that their more recent high end offerings in dynamic phones to be wildly inconsistent (I really dislike their top of the line model). It would be interesting to see what kind of sound they pursue and whether they go for the mellower sound of their old electrostatic models or the lean, bright and hyper-analytical sound of the HD 800).
Good point too about about the benefits to others when a profitable purchase is made.
The resale prices down the road are the only true indicators of what a new product is really worth to the buyer at any given time.
As a buyer, not that I could afford these in any case, but I always want to hear anything new that pushes the limits or might set a new reference standard in any way.
If I did like them and could afford them, I would have less problem paying the price for headphone and amp like this compared say to wires in that there will be little doubt teh amp and headphones are the major factors in teh resulting sound I hear whereas accessories always play a lesser role. That's why they are called "accessories".
Here is Minnesota the conditions for growing veggies and other foods that are actually good for humans are ideal. But for 500 miles east and west virtually nothing grows but the most useless crop every grown by man, the one that is hardest on the soil and requires the most pesticides , herbicides , and fertilizer of any thing grown. Indeed in the SW quad of the state there is no water fit to swim in and an 800 ft well brings up only water totally unfit to drink Ask a farmer why he grows corn ,as I have many times,and you get a blank stare and always the same reply" "its a cash crop" And so it is for Monsanto and the commodity speculators .
And everything in the MN grocery store is trucked in from CA and Fl or ports , and if the grid is broken and those trucks don't roll in a month there will be millions of dead rotting in the Twin Cities . ISIS is the least of our worries ,our entire system is utterly insane and thats why we have 55K headphones .
Schubert, Homo Sapiens is still a very young and undeveloped species. There is a hope that in time it will find less insane ways of living. But until this happens I would get me Koenigseg Swedish custom sports car for $2 million if I could. I read about it and watched videos, I think it's worth it. I can also see where a lot of resources and innovations went. But I would not spend $1 million on Ferrari, Buggatti, McLaren etc. Nor would I spend $55k on Senheiser phones. As for farmers, I can never understand them. Maybe it is because in my heart I am a hunter-gatherer.
I think, Mom Nature always has every say. First, last and everything in between. But you are right, big crisis is brewing, and the level of denial by people is incredible. This Homo is not very Sapiens, at least not yet.
Lake Superior is the greatest fresh water body on earth. There is a toxic mine being built in its watershed whose hyper-toxic wastewater ponds will need to be closely monitored for the next 500 years in the companies own environmental study . Not approved yet, but it looks like the MN legislature is going to give it the green light for the sake of 300 jobs in depressed northern MN. You can't make this stuff up .
One can't help wondering, shouldn't the headphone cable be replaced with a high end cable of some sort, you know, a pure silver cryogenically treated and machine broken in cable? The Artisan cable springs to mind....
The interesting thing is Sennheiser makes headphones for all at all price points and they all tend to mostly all be good performers at their price points. Will these end that streak? It's not like Sennheiser only caters to the elite although their products have achieved a certain high status in their market over the years. Can any thing sound that much better though? I wonder. Sennheiser has earned a lot of good will over the years and mostly avoided gimmicks I think.
Gosh, wasn't it Sennheiser that had another really expensive set of headphones with amplifier twenty five or thirty years ago? You know, the ones everyone said was the Best in the World. The more things change the more they stay the same.
The old Sennheiser Orpheus (HE-90) is, to me, a terrific sounding phone. I bet the price of the new phones and that set are not too far apart after adjusting for inflation. It was crazy expensive then (something like $18,000), but, people will pay about $35,000 for a good pair and the amp today, so it has more than held its value.
That does not necessarily mean that the new phones will do the same or be held in as high regards. These days, there are plenty of new phones utilizing a greater variety of approaches that were not around in the past (e.g., planar magnetics).
As for the Stax 009 and Woo amp mentioned above, I have not heard that specific combination, but, I have heard Woo amps (to me, they have been consistently crappy) and I have heard the OO9 on the headphone amp I own (Blue Hawaii SE). The 009s sound pretty good, but, in some ways I prefer the 007s (Omega II, Mk. 1) and the Sennheiser HE-60. It is a matter of taste, with no ultimate "best." I could not argue with someone much preferring the sound of phones like the Audeze (I like them too, and they sound completely different from electrostatic phones).
Smart marketing ploy to raise Sennheiser above the rest. It got people talking, right?
The same reason media covers a restaurant who offers a $10k ice cream (a diamond is buried at the bottom). Now the competition around the corner may have much better ice cream but why are people running pass the corner to take pictures of the 10 grand dessert?
At least two owners of high end gear brand confined to me that unless the highest price of their product line is not above a certain price point, their products won’t get noticed (by some buyers). Sad, but how true!
As for me, I am always trying to find a product that equals or excels products in a higher price range that matches my systems and budget and/or through tweaking.