Wearables

Sennheiser's flagship IE 900 earphones come with a four-figure price tag

Sennheiser's flagship IE 900 e...
Sennheiser's IE 900 earphones were developed to "deliver a listening experience without compromise"
Sennheiser's IE 900 earphones were developed to "deliver a listening experience without compromise"
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Sennheiser's IE 900 earphones were developed to "deliver a listening experience without compromise"
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Sennheiser's IE 900 earphones were developed to "deliver a listening experience without compromise"
The IE 900 earphones come with balanced and unbalanced cables
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The IE 900 earphones come with balanced and unbalanced cables
The outer housing is milled from a single block of aluminum
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The outer housing is milled from a single block of aluminum
Exploded view of the IE 900 earphones, which includes the brand new X3R transducer
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Exploded view of the IE 900 earphones, which includes the brand new X3R transducer
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Though many mobile music lovers are going true wireless, audiophiles on the move are more likely to opt for the higher fidelity afforded by cabled ear candy. And it's these listeners that German audio brand Sennheiser is aiming for with the $1,300 IE 900 flagship earphones.

"With the IE 900 our engineering team managed to unleash the potential of our 7-mm transducers," said Jermo Köhnke, Product Manager at Sennheiser. "The IE 900’s affinity for detail is striking. The clean and balanced sound signature stays honest to the original recording – even on tracks whose secrets you thought you had exhausted. In my opinion, the IE 900 defies the perceived limits of an earphone listening experience, deserving a well-earned top spot in their class."

The outer housing is milled from a single block of aluminum
The outer housing is milled from a single block of aluminum

The outer housing of each IE 900 earphone is milled from a single block of aluminum by a specialist team in Wedemark, Germany, and is home to a new 7-mm X3R transducer – the single-driver architecture being specifically employed by Sennheiser to avoid multi-driver issues such as phase incoherence and unwanted distortion.

The housing also hosts the company's triple-chamber absorber system, which uses three Helmholtz chambers and a downstream acoustic vortex to counter something called the masking effect, where the human ear is unable to hear high frequency sounds at low volumes if lower frequency sounds are being delivered at the same time.

"The X3R system enables the listener to hear more details in their music which is what audiophile listening is all about," explained Andre Michaelis, an acoustic engineer at Sennheiser. "The three resonator chambers smoothen the frequency response at high frequencies in the area from 6,5 to 10 kilohertz, reducing the so-called masking effect. This means that you can better hear frequencies above 11 kilohertz – the details."

And to ensure quality control and optimal performance, Sennheiser's engineers are even reported to pair each set of left and right earphones by hand.

Exploded view of the IE 900 earphones, which includes the brand new X3R transducer
Exploded view of the IE 900 earphones, which includes the brand new X3R transducer

The company has also included a newly developed membrane foil to provide inner dampening for a total harmonic distortion figure of 0.05 percent at 94 dB, 1 kHz, while the earphones boast a wide frequency response of 5 Hz to 48 kHz, a sound pressure level of 123 dB, and impedance of 16 ohms.

Adjustable earhooks and silicone and memory foam tips in three sizes make for a comfortable, secure fit, and the earphones come with an unbalanced 3.5-mm cable, as well as balanced 2.5-mm and 4.4-mm flavors for compatibility with high-end portable audio gear.

The IE 900 earphones are up for pre-order now for an eye-watering US$1,299.95, with shipping expected to start next month.

Product page: IE 900

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