Audeze CRBN - Electrostatic Headphone - Official Thread

Audeze’s CRBN is a new entry in the electrostatic headphone market. This is a departure from their planar magnetic headphones, though packs the same level of innovation that Audeze have brought to that market.

Quoting Audeze’s product page:

Featuring the most advanced electrostatic technology in decades, Audeze proudly introduces the CRBN electrostatic headphone (pronounced “carbon”), which features a new Patent-pending polymer film with suspended carbon nanotubes to eliminate problems commonly found in previous electrostatic designs. Originally developed for MRI medical applications, we’ve adapted those innovations for the audiophile version of CRBN, which top audio professionals have called the best sounding electrostatic headphone to-date.

The new CRBN is compatible with existing 580V Stax “Pro Bias” amplifiers and energizers, giving it a ready-made base of potential users.

This is the spot to discuss Audeze’s latest creation.

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Since there has not been that much new/interesting for me in the headphone space recently, and I’d been re-visiting electrostatic setups, I ordered myself a set a soon as they went live in the Audeze store.

My BHSE should arrive well prior to the CRBN, so they’ll be up for a proper workout right out of the gate.

Especially interested to see how they compare to the SR-009S in terms of low-end impact, slam and bass presence. Initial measurements are encouraging.

I have a feeling its going to be a long ~4 weeks or so …

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Looking forward to your impressions of these. If they deliver on those points you mentioned- slam and bass presence, I will order them as a birthday gift for myself!

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Looking forward to your thoughts :slight_smile:

This was leaked early yesterday, then taken down, now it’s back up.

https://www.soundstageglobal.com/index.php/company-tours/monitor-audio-september-25-26-2014/2-uncategorised/962-audezes-crbn-an-actual-game-changer-in-high-end-headphones

Audeze has a list of tried and tested energizers:

https://audeze.zendesk.com/hc/en-us/articles/4405471414925

Looking forward to your thoughts

I’d also be interested to hear your impressions using the iESL with CRBN.

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Jude has a set for review

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I think you’ll find it has a fair amount more low end than than you’d typically expect from an electrostat. Will be neat to hear your impressions!

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Very glad to see you leading charge. My BHSE jut arrived and I need someone whose judgment I value before making this decision. Almost bought this yesterday but Audeze funky tuning ls always a troubling possibility. I for one will be waiting with great hope for your always insightful and sophisticated views.

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I will certainly be posting impressions once my set arrive, though its doubtful I’ll do a full review (at least not like the ones I used to write).

Also, it’s worth noting that there is a 4±week lead time on getting them as they’re being built to order! So it’ll be a bit …

But when I do get them, I’ll be running them on a new BHSE, the Pro iESL (fed from several different amplifiers, including the HSA-1b, Chord Étude and Chord Ultima 5) and depending on what lead times are for a Carbon CC either one of those or the regular KGSSHV Carbon.

And comparisons will be to the SR-007MK2 (2.9) and SR-009S, as well as the SR1a and probably the LCD-4 and Utopia.

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I’m personaly quote cuttious how well the hsa-1b + ifi run this. I’ve been tempted by the hsa-1b as a kind of “one stop shop” of an amp for a while so knowing if it runs estate well or not will be quite nice

Lol. Someone on headfi jjst pointed out the crbn is closer in weight to the i4 iem than the LCD-4

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I’ll definitely post my actual experiences with that setup.

In the interim, from what I’ve gleaned about the CRBN so far it seems it is easier to drive than either then SR-007MK2 or the SR-009S, so it should work pretty well - at least in terms of output level.

Both the STAX units sound great* via the iFi Pro iESL fed from the HSA-1b’s speaker taps. However, to make that work you do have to set the HSA-1b’s input-level attenuation to 0 dB, feed it a +13 dBU signal, and run the Pro iESL on its 24 or 16 ohm impedance settings or you will struggle to get enough volume with quiet pieces.

On the SR-009S you could get away with a DAC with a normal, balanced, output level (+4 dBU) and still have some room on the HSA-1b’s dial; I wouldn’t do that with the SR-007 MK2. The CRBN should be similar to the SR-009S in this regard (level wise).


*Unlike when I tried the Pro iESL driven off a Pro iCAN, I find a decent speaker amplifier feeding the Pro iESL sounds wonderful and yields plenty of power. It’s not on the same level as a dedicated high-end electrostatic amplifier, but the difference is surprisingly small given a suitable amplifier feeding the iESL. Also, the iESL can do some things that dedicated amplifiers cannot, so is a nice piece for exploring electrostatic headphones with in general. Though to get the most from them I’d still recommend a proper amplifier - it was enough of a gateway for me to warrant ordering a BHSE and talking with Birgir about a Carbon or Carbon CC as well.

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This is the electrostatic headphone I am most interested in hearing. Looking forward to your impressions @Torq !!!

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I expected that you would not do a formal review but your impressions are usually enough. I can replicate about 90 per cent of the proposed set up–currently no Carbon though thinking on this. Anything you do will be useful and appreciated as I came to this “sport” late in life.

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Has it been four weeks yet?

It feels as though it should have been …

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I don’t really get the “made to order, in 4 weeks” business. Even if demand is uncertain given the price point, you’d think … well, to be more accurate I’d think … they would want to capitalize on the considerable buzz this h/p has created by having at least a hundred units ready to ship quickly.

Didn’t they give some to some dealers to sell that are available now? Maybe I’m confused