CES 2009: Sennheiser launches £1000 HD800 high-end headphones

Sennheiser HD 800

Credit crunch? What credit crunch? Sennheiser laughed loudly in the face of the world recession – and why not – as it merrily announced the HD 800 headphones, yours for £1000.

While you could have probably bought the entire contents of your local Woolworths for that a week or so ago, Sennheiser has plenty of reasons as to why the HD 800s are worth any number of penny sweets and celebrity autobiographies.

The HD 800 cans are hand-made in Germany and use a specifically developed 56mm 'RING driver' – the largest currently found in any dynamic headphone, Sennheiser assures us.

Sporting an open-backed design, the 'phones use stainless steel, aerospace grade plastics and Japanese Alcantra earpads.There are silver-plated, low-oxygen, detachable copper cables, too.

Claiming a 6 to 51,000 Hz frequency response and a 0.02% distortion rate, the HD 800s certainly talk a good game – though for a grand, you'd expect nothing less.

Axel Grell, acoustics developer at Sennheiser, seems only too happy to wax lyrical about some of the thinking behind the company's new baby, as you'll see below.

"Today, most music is made to be reproduced by two loudspeakers, which form an equal-sided triangle together with the listener. This results in a sound field close to the ears that is at a slight angle to the head.

When the sound field reaches the ears, the sound is reflected into the ear canal and to the ear drum by the structures of the external ear with slight time differences. It is precisely these differences that are a key factor in spatial hearing and in the localisation of the sound event outside the head.

With its large, inclined transducers, the HD 800 generates a sound field that corresponds to the listening experience with loudspeakers, but far exceeds loudspeakers in the purity of the sound reproduction."

Well, there's the theory. We look forward to hearing them in action very soon and will of course look to publish a review just as soon as we do...