Expensive headphones are one of those products that some people have an instant and visceral aversion against. These folks have probably never heard decent headphones, so can’t imagine what good high-end headphones can sound like.
According to the Forbes list, these ten most expensive headphones go a step beyond. Uber-expensive, but offering a combination of luxury build quality, design and, usually, superior sound.
In order from “least” to most expensive…
Audio-Technica ATH w5000 ($1200)
Stylish with cutting edge design…perfect for high-end music producing. The ATH-W5000 headphones has a magnizium-alloy frame, “8N-OFC (oxygen free copper) voice coils,” 53mm drivers driven by neodymium magnets, and a claimed frequency response of 5 Hz to 45,000 Hz.
Hifiman He 6 ($1299)
The HiFiman has two features that you’ll see are common among the most expensive headphones: open-back, and planar magnetic. C-Net reports that the earphones provide a remarkably direct connection to the music, without adding or subtracting much from the sound.
JH Audio JH16 Pro ($1,149+Custom Ear Molds)
There are two reasons way the JH16’s are so expensive. One, they’re custom built to fit your ears and two; 8 drivers per ear. Most headphones make do with one driver.
Beyerdynamic T1 ($1,399)
T1s can play loud and have powerful dynamics with clarity, big open sound, and excellent comfort using Tesla technology adapted from completely re-engineered transducers based on a neodymium ring magnet with optimized magnetic field characteristics which is responsible for its awesome sound quality.
Sennheiser HD800 ($1,500)
Sennheiser seems to make a headphone for every niche and every price… including the high-end. The massive HD800s are an open-back back design with “the biggest transducers ever used in headphones today. C-NET reports that they “sound more like listening to full-size speakers than any other headphone we’ve heard to date.”
Grado PS1000 ($1,695)
The Grados certainly have a different look than the others here. They’re decidedly old school, with none of the flashiness you’d expect for such expensive headphones. However, no matter the retro look, they justify their price with the astonishing sound.
Audeze LCD-3 ($1,945)
Open back with magnetic planar drivers, the Audeze lcd-3 is brilliantly beautiful for listening to music with.
Stax SR-009 “Earspaker” ($4,450)
Popular among a lot of circles, the Stax are known for their ability to produce tonal beauty and purity of sound. The Stax have electrostatic drivers. These are similar to the planar magnetic drivers in the Audeze and few others, but instead of a thin-film with embedded conductors, is a diaphragm in an electrostatic field suspension.
Ultrasone Edition 5 ($4,999)
Every single part of the earphones is made of exotic materials, giving it this luxurious feel available to only a few on earth at the moment. Quality materials breeds quality service and that’s what this earphone is…..quality.
Abyss AB-1266 ($5495)
And if the Stax and Ultrasone’s weren’t enough for you, there’s the Abyss. Another planar magnetic design, the components are “machined from solid aluminum,” with “low carbon steel front baffle” and lambskin pads. The only earphone that produces sound so real…..It outruns and outstrips every other competition by a long mile.
It is arguably the best earphone ever made…