With a limited production run of just 300, the Orpheus originally carried a retail pricetag of US $12,900, making it the most expensive headphone ever made when it was introduced at the Berlin International Radio Exhibition over two decades ago. Now a unique collector's item for the audio community's most absolute purists, the Orpheus can sometimes be found on today's auction sites for nearly triple that amount.
The Orpheus originally consisted of an HE90/HEV90 electrostatic headphone and amplifier system, and was intended to reproduce uncolored and undistorted sound with high accuracy and clarity. The HEV90 vacuum tube amplifier - a striking visual feast of audio componentry - utilized an all valve analog signal path and an onboard dedicated digital to analog converter (DAC).
The HE90 headphone design itself included a microscopically thin, platinum-coated diaphragm and electrodes made of special glass — which proved helpful in establishing a superior time response and reducing acoustical losses in the audio frequency range. The ear cushion, meanwhile, was instrumental in defining the overall sound balance and was optimized for both sound quality and comfort.
When it was introduced in 1991, the Orpheus was unsurpassed in its masterful design and uncompromising sonic purity. The essence of this perfection is still reflected in every product that Sennheiser manufactures to this day.
"The Orpheus is the most musical sounding headphone I have ever heard. It is so involving - so realistic sounding - so pathos-filled, but most of all - it is transparent."
- David Solomon (DavidMahler) on Head-Fi.org
"Its Art Deco design is simply striking. With its polished aluminum surfaces, six visible tubes covered with shiny tube shields, black accents, and wood trim, it would look equally at home in a listening room of almost any period or in a Flash Gordon movie—it looks expensive."
"If looks could kill, the Orpheus would be deadly."
Sennheiser is a world-leading manufacturer of microphones, headphones and wireless transmission systems. Established in 1945 in Wedemark, Germany, Sennheiser is now a global brand represented in 60 countries around the world with U.S. headquarters in Old Lyme, Conn. Sennheiser's pioneering excellence in technology has rewarded the company with numerous awards and accolades including an Emmy, a Grammy, and the Scientific and Engineering Award of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
You can find all the latest information on Sennheiser by visiting our website at http://www.sennheiserusa.com.
Jeff Touzeau, Public Relations, Hummingbird Media, Inc.