Cambridge Audio SE1 headphones get full release after charity campaign

Just over a year ago, Cambridge Audio took a novel approach to fundraising - it offered a pair of limited-edition headphones for sale, with buyers paying whatever they thought fair. All of the proceeds went to charity. The scheme was a big success: all 1,000 pairs of the SE1s sold out in less than 24 hours, raising almost £27,000 for national charity Youth Music.

Now Cambridge Audio has given the SE1s a full consumer release, letting anyone buy a pair for £68.

Money will still go to a good cause. The SE1s are only available from the Cambridge Audio website, which lets the firm donate 50 per cent of the proceeds to Youth Music.

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Youth Music invests in music-making projects for children and young people in difficult circumstances.

So what of the headphones themselves? They feature Beryllium in the diaphragms of the 8mm speaker drivers. Beryllium is lighter than aluminium, but stiffer than titanium, plus it's well damped to prevent any unwanted ringing sounds.

The driver housing is machined from rigid, aircraft-grade aluminium to avoid colouring the sound, with high-purity oxygen-free copper in the connecting wires. Cambridge Audio claims this makes for a fast and accurate response with low distortion, giving a punchy yet smooth and clean sound.

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Joe Svetlik

Joe has been writing about tech for 17 years, first on staff at T3 magazine, then in a freelance capacity for Stuff, The Sunday Times Travel Magazine, Men's Health, GQ, The Mirror, Trusted Reviews, TechRadar and many more (including What Hi-Fi?). His specialities include all things mobile, headphones and speakers that he can't justifying spending money on.