Price of headphones

Just wanted to start a conversation about the price of headphones.I do not mind buying something that is quality made,but for me a lot of headphones are made cheap,with lots of plastic.Also when the price starts to get to the point that they cost more than speakers then something is wrong.In Canada the hd800s sells for 2199.00 as an example,ok made in Germany and you pay for research and development,but if these were in the range of let’s say 1500.00 and the 800 for 1200.00 then how many more would they sell?
The LCD-3 here are over 2600.00 that’s a huge step up from the LCD2,and I can keep going,Utopia 5000.00,the LCD 4 are even more than that.Factor that it’s hard to find a place to test all the models your interested in,so sometimes all you can do is research on line and order online and hope your not disappointed,yes most times you can send them back but then your back to square one.Thats why this community is so important,to get real feedback from owners,and I’m grateful.Just want to hear from those who have been at it longer than me,how much was your first pair of headphones,compared to what your spending now,what is the difference between 600.00 headphone and 1200.00,and then 2500.00.


Sennheiser is producing a $50,000+ electrostatic headphone system with proprietary DAC/Amp: The Sennheiser HE 1. I think it’s reasonable to assume it will be a limited run.

Don’t think my wife will let me put a second mortgage on our home to buy them lol.
But for some who can afford then my all means,I’d love to hear them to compare to what I’ve heard so far.


Price almost seems inverse to QC. I’ve had zero problem with the headphones that retail for under $400. But three of the four I’ve acquired in the over-400 range have been defective:

Elear has something rattling around loose in the right earcup, like a tiny screw or bit of plastic;
T1: defective wiring so no mids, only bass and treble;
HE-560: Two separate dead drivers before I finally got a good one.

I shudder to imagine how bad one of those $1000+ headphones would be.


I had a problem with my HD700,at higher volumes the driver in the right cum would rattle.
Those were 999.00 ,the hifimans that I had experienced zero issues and I only paid 300.00

I have had my HD650s for a decade now for example. They are made of plastic, so I don’t find that to be an indicator of quality per se. I always buy my headphones from a reputable dealer that allows me to return purchases within 30 days. Plenty of time to test it out and get a sense of the built quality. Plus you can find tons of reviews online. Generally products that have a design flaw (break easily, etc.) will get flagged by the community. I’ve had only two issues with headphones, both were mid range Etymotic models that are no longer available. On one of them a driver failed, on the the other the plastic body came apart. A third higher end Etymotic model I still have and it never had any issues.

Your right, been thinking about this and I’m sure lots of headphones last even if they are made of plastic, and I can understand that they do save weight. But the price is still going up and up.

I’ve certainly noticed that there are way more models in the $1000,- range and above available now then just a couple of years ago; and I am sure it’s going to continue that way. Personally I think you have to ask yourself at what cost do you reach the point of diminishing returns. How much are you willing to pay for that extra percent of increase in performance?

I’m also willing to pay a higher price for innovation and new technologies that are useful rather than just improved sound quality alone (the nuraphone headphones are an example of this), although very few headphone manufacturers seem to be innovating.

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I heard about that and read a review (I thought it sold for US $75,000 at that time) and the reviewer stated that it wasn’t that much better than other top of the line headphone setups (not necessarily a fact just his opinion :stuck_out_tongue:). Considering that is it then worth almost 10 times other setups? The only way to see for myself is to go to one of those headphone meetups with my own gear because how else could you make a comparison? Oh well I don’t see that happening anytime soon because I don’t even know if the HE 1 is in Australia. There isn’t even a stereo shop where I live. Anyway for $10,000 I could “maybe” see myself buying it but at it’s current price not in a million years. I was thinking of what it would sound like and I see 2 things happening. 1. I’d be blown away and 2. I’d be disappointed (judging by reviews I’ve read that’s more likely). Really though if a headphone that costs that amount of money didn’t blow you away how could you not be disappointed? What else could you buy for that amount of money because that’s what it comes down to :wink: Just to say think of the price of the original Orpheus and then the price of the STAX SR-009 (mine cost me about $4,000 from My point is wait around a little bit and you’d be able to buy something better for far less money :sunglasses:. But then again how long would you have to wait because the Orpheus was a while ago now :neutral_face:. Good for the CEO’s and Paris Hiltons that can afford it though. Talking about the build quality of things the build quality of the RS 195’s ear-pads suck because mine are literally falling apart and will cost me $50 I think it was to replace them. Meanwhile my wireless Sony headphones ear-pads are in perfect condition and I’ve had them for like 18 years. The point is the Sennheisers cost me $500. Think about that with the HE 1. Are they really that good or are they just a colossal rip off?

PS: The fake leather covering of RS 195’s is falling apart whereas the foam parts under it seem to be OK.

I wonder what source gear you would need to get the most out of a headphone system that costs more than a luxury automobile? High-def computer files? SACD discs? If you can afford this, then why not the iMac Pro $2500 desktop with SSD storage? What software would you use? What interface? I would want a PS Audio Power Plant to plug everything into. Hell I would want a very comfortable chair. What kind of stand would you set everything onto? Something custom made no doubt. A very quiet room. Man I could see this whole system easily reaching $100,000 when it was all said and done. Just think of what kind of 2 channel stereo system you could get for a hundred grand!

You would have to one rich hardcore headphone geek! Maybe this would be perfect for your private jet…

And I didn’t factor in cables. There goes another 10 grand. My audio always said cables should cost 10 percent of your system.

I meant to say audio mentor.

I have found that the incredible price increase in flagship phones to a certain degree took the fun out of this hobby.

It wasn’t all that long ago, that except for out of production legendary headphones, ’
$1000 created sticker shock. Now a grand is becoming the norm for many.
I’ll keep looking for value while I enjoy the music!


Reviewers now consider 1000.00 as midfi.
I used to think that headphones in the 5 to 6 hundred dollar range to be midfi.

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In audio, price has always been only loosely related to quality. Companies learned long ago that if a product doesn’t have a high-end price, people won’t take it seriously as a high-end product. There are some headphones that are worth the price of admission to me. The HE-90 was $5000 at the time that I bought it, but I haven’t looked back. What it does well, it does better than any other headphone that I’ve heard. However, it’s also possible to get seriously good sound at prices well below that. Almost as a whim, I recently picked up a Mitchell and Johnson MJ2 off of Massdrop at $300 (I was interested in a modern take on electret technology). However, it knocked several more expensive headphones right out of my listening lineup. Paired with an Astell and Kern KANN, it provides a wonderful traveling setup that doesn’t leave me feeling that I left real high-end sound at home. This isn’t mid-fi. If you use price point alone as an indicator of sound quality, something that punches above its price point is going to be missed. Those can be the real gems.

To state the obvious, the word “fidelity” means being faithful or “true to” something or someone.
In audio it means (or meant) the sound produced is faithful to, or truly represents the original recording to a high degree.

IMO there are a few $500 -$600 (MSRP) headphones like the HD 600s which very likely more accurately present what’s recorded than some of the much more expensive models. I believe some $500 headphones still deserve to be referred to as “hi-fi” gear.


Be warned though because some website I read years ago claimed that some “high end” cable companies actually get cheapo cables from China and then put a so called fancy jacket on it, wack their name on it an markup the price 1000 fold. Whether or not that is true is another story but then again would you get more difference buying fancy cables or putting a few more grand towards a better CD player, amplifier or whatever?

Would you sell your HE-90?

I share the same believe. Well put.

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