Audeze looks to be expanding its line even further, this time venturing into the realm of electrostatic headphones. What started as a venture to deliver something to the medical world, resulted in the chance to share something new with the audiophile community. This new development is the Audeze CRBN headphones.
It all started when the company (Audeze) worked alongside SMRT Image to design a pair of headphones that could safely be used within MRI machines. Most headphone models lack this compatibility due to the ferrous metals used within their design. The two companies cooperated together, with Audeze developing a new ultra-thin carbon nanotube diaphragm that can be used within an MRI machine without conflict, and SMRT Image fine-tuning it to work with the setups used by doctors in these environments.
Similar to some of the headphones already in existence, the new headphones allow a doctor to clearly communicate with the patient inside the machine, while also providing relaxing music to take their mind off the fact that they are jammed into a tight environment unable to move for long periods of time. They also feature ANC to help cancel out some of the loud noise coming from the machine. Altogether providing a better-sounding and more relaxing solution for patients during their visit.
They then branched out to make way to the consumer market of audiophiles bringing the same carbon nanotube technology into a more familiar headphone design. A high-end pair of headphones with leather earpads, carbon fiber suspension headband, acetate rings, premium cable, and travel case. Designed to be compatible with all STAX-type 580-volt amplifiers (full specs below).
Of course, this is a very niche community of audiophiles with a lot of spending power to fuel their obsessions. The Audeze CRBN electrostatic headphones do run $4,500 (that’s just the headphones alone). You then need to have a compatible amp (as mentioned), which typically can run a little over a thousand dollars (a good example is the iFi Audio Pro iESL at $1,499) for a good starting point, and then the price works its way up from there.
They do sound quite exciting though and we hope to catch a listen at one of the shows when we run into Audeze in the future. We may just share with you what we find when that time comes. If you want to learn more about these headphones, you can visit Audeze’s website here for the product page.
Full Specifications (Consumer Model):
|Driver Type||Push-pull electrostatic|
|Headphone type||Open-back circumaural|
|Electrostatic capacitance||100pF (including cable)|
|Functional bias voltage||Pro bias (580 V)|
|Termination||Standard 5-pin Pro bias connector|
|Driver size||120 mm x 90 mm|
|Frequency response||15Hz – 40 kHz|
|Diaphragm material||Custom made CRBN carbon nanotube film|