British hi-fi specialist Mitchell and Johnson has announced that its forthcoming headphone range will use self-biasing electrostatic technology developed at the Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI) in Taiwan.
Called Electrostatz, the tech uses a super-thin and lightweight flexible transducer, with thousands of micro perforations, to produce sound waves when an audio signal is applied to the driver - in much the same way as a traditional electrostatic driver, but without the need for an external high-voltage power supply.
This overcomes the two major disadvantages of current electrostatic headphones, namely high cost and lack of portability, according to Mitchell and Johnson.
Electrostatz can produce high frequency sounds up to 45kHz, "without the distortion found in traditional headphones", the company claims. A conventional bass driver is combined with the 40mm Electrostatz unit in a hybrid design.
During the first half of 2016 Mitchell and Johnson will introduce a range of headphone designs aimed at urban users, hi-fi enthusiasts, DJs and professional studio engineers. Prices will range from $170-$800.
Paul Mitchell, the company's CEO, says: "Electrostatz represents the single biggest development in headphone driver design for many years. And by combining it with a dynamic driver in our hybrid module we can bring the best of both worlds - electrostatic purity and dynamic power and bass performance - to consumers."
Pictured above is the Mitchell and Johnson HP1 model which is likely to sell for around $499. There will be four additional ranges: a premium design for use with smartphones ($299); an audiophile hi-fi range from £599; a studio pro/DJ range from $599; and a smaller DJ range from $499.
MORE: Best headphones 2016