The boom in wireless portable audio hasn’t greatly affected the traditional high-end wired headphone industry. Lovers of personal audio know that only the use of enveloping headphones in conjunction with dedicated amplifiers can deliver sound that surpasses all other solutions in level of detail. In this article, we have collected the most interesting premieres of the season 2021-2022 on the wired full-size headphones market.
- KRK KNS 8402
- Sennheiser HD 400 PRO
- Austrian Audio Hi-X60
- Beyerdynamic DT 700 PRO Х
- Grado Reference RS1x
- Warwick Acoustics Bravura
- Audeze LCD-5
- Dan Clark Audio Stealth
- Meze Audio Elite
The renowned studio equipment manufacturer presented several models of headphones this year, one of which is the KRK KNS 8402. These are traditional closed-back headphones equipped with 40mm dynamic driver, operating in a frequency range of 5 – 23,000Hz with a nominal impedance of 36 ohms and a sensitivity of 97dB. The maximum sound pressure level is 124dB. There is also a noise reduction function that dampens ambient noise up to 30dBA. The KRK KNS 8402 provides maximum sound detail with a minimum level of distortion. The model is made in classic black color. Premium leatherette ear cushions filled with memory foam.
Price – $150
Sennheiser’s new studio headphone is always an event. The Sennheiser HD 400 PRO have a comfortable and light open design with soft velor ear cushions. The model has a wide frequency response ranging from 6 Hz to 38kHz. Angled 120ohm dynamic drivers are equipped with a special polymer compound diaphragm, which, in combination with powerful magnets, delivers deep, crisp and distinct low frequencies. Distortion is less than 0.05% (1kHz, 90dB SPL). The earbuds come with a 3m coiled cable and a 1.8m straight cable, both with a 3.5mm mini-jack plug for connection to portable audio sources. The kit also includes a 6.3mm jack adapter.
Price – $360
The Austrian Audio company, founded by the former AKG engineering team, has released Hi-X60 – a closed version of its successful Hi-X65 model. The earbuds have a foldable design with metal inserts, allowing for quick replacement of ear pads. The latter are filled with memory foam. In the kit, users will receive two detachable cables: one with a length of 1.2m, the other – 3m. The acoustic part of the novelty includes all the same 44mm dynamic emitters, which are equipped with Hi-X65 headphones. The declared frequency range extends from 5Hz to 28kHz, the sensitivity is 110dB, the impedance is 25Ohm.
Price – $430
The German company, known for its conservative and solid approach, has introduced a new model of studio headphones – DT 700 PRO Х. It is a closed structure equipped with a modified STELLAR.45 proprietary dynamic emitter. The developers assure that the new speakers produce the correct sound even if the headphones are connected to the “weak” output of the smartphone. At the same time, the sensitivity of the model is not so high – only 96dB, the nominal impedance is 48Ohm. You can use either a balanced mini-XLR or a 3.5mm mini-jack for connection to signal sources. The Beyerdynamic DT 700 PRO Х is made in classic black color.
Price – 250 euro.
The Brooklyn-based company has expanded its Reference lineup with two models this year, the oldest of which, the RS1x, is equipped with a proprietary 55mm X-driver. These emitters, modified over the past six years, feature lightweight coils and reinforced magnet systems. The engineers also worked on the optimization of the membrane geometry. The headphones operate in the frequency range from 12 to 30,000Hz with a sensitivity of 98dB. The base of the body is made from maple wood, while the outer cups are made from several types of wood. According to the developers, this is how they managed to achieve the correct tonal balance.
Price – 1000 euro.
It is not often that new electrostatic headphones appear on the market. The Warwick Acoustics Bravura is based on hand-made HPEL drivers. They have an aperture area of 3,570sq.mm and a weight of 0.5g. The outer upholstery of the cups is stitched by hand, and the padding for the ear pads is sheep wool. Warwick Acoustics Bravura headphones are equipped with a Sonoma M1 class A amplifier, digital USB and coaxial S/PDIF connectors, as well as analog RCA are used to connect sources. Signal transmission to the headphones is provided by an ultra-low capacitance cable. The USB connection allows you to receive PCM signals up to 32-bit/384kHz, DSD64 and DSD128.
Price – 5750 euro.
The new flagship headphones of the American company received 90mm isodynamic emitters, providing a wide frequency range, extending from 5Hz to 50kHz, with a sensitivity of 90dB and an impedance of 14ohms. Proprietary Fluxor magnets and a membrane only a few nanometers thick are responsible for the precise movement of the emitters. The use of Parallel Uniforce voice coils allows for minimal distortion at any SPL, and the new pillows better cope with the resonance of the cup. The lightweight body is made with magnesium alloy and carbon fiber. The included detachable monocrystalline copper cable provides the widest possible bandwidth.
Price – $5500
According to the creators of the new closed isodynamic headphones of the American brand, their development took four years. The Dan Clark Audio Stealth is equipped with proprietary 4th generation planar magnetic drivers. The headband of the earbuds has been significantly redesigned, and a feature of the new design is the so-called “self-adjusting suspension system”, which ensures an optimal fit on the head. The production uses artificial leather, carbon fiber and carefully crafted aluminum components. The Dan Clark Audio Stealth is made in red and black colors.
Price – $4000
The new flagship isodynamic headphones of the Romanian manufacturer received a modified version of the proprietary Rinaro MZ3SE drivers, created, as before, with the participation of specialists from the Ukrainian company Rinaro Isodynamics. The Meze Audio Elite are capable of operating over a frequency range of 3Hz to 112kHz with an impedance of 32ohms. During operation, they are able to create a sound pressure of up to 130dB. The headband is made of carbon fiber and natural leather, while the cups and openwork grilles are CNC-machined from aluminum. Another feature of the headphones is the included interchangeable ear pads. One pair is 30mm deep and finished in Alcantara, the other 25mm deep is covered with genuine leather.
Price – $4000