Walking into the room itself was magical. The Orpheus was standing in the middle of the room with a couple of couches around it. Knowing you’re about to get your socks blown off, believe me, is a special feeling.
Even just by looking at it, Orpheus did things to me. Things that no other headphone or amplifier has done before. It just oozes quality, luxury and style. The marble used for the housing, the cable sleeving, the tubes, the controls: everything is perfectly built. I’ve never seen anything better. And I could touch it. I still get goosebumps thinking of it. The Orpheus was under supervision at all times though, I behaved.
I was fortunate to get to listen to the Orpheus for about an hour and half. Yes, getting there early paid off. Sennheiser suggested bringing your own music and so my trusted AK240 joined me on the trip. I connected my optical cable to the DAC on the rear of the unit and ready I was.
Let me be clear: The new Orpheus destroys everything you ever listened to before. I’m not just saying this, there just is no other way to put it. It’s without doubt the very best setup I have ever listened to. Period. This time the angels came and they were prettier than I had ever imagined they would be. My wife said: “For a minute there I think you were going to cry”. Yup.
One of the most enjoyable things when you get into this hobby is that better gear will make you show things in your favorite music that you have never heard before. After years of writing reviews and listening to (high end) gear, that feeling kind of faded away and I accepted that. I never thought I’d get that feeling again but the new Orpheus proved me wrong. Thank you Sennheiser, thank you so very much for that.
After 1.5 hours it isn’t easy to give you an in depth analysis of what the Orpheus really sounds like. The experience is just so overwhelming. Its definition, depth, width and layering is beyond anything you have ever heard before. It just sounds so detailed, dynamic, airy and natural. I never imagined anything could sound this good, this perfect. Orpheus sounds fast, tight, and shows you a sound stage you have never experienced before. It’s hard to put into words what Sennheiser has done and you might not believe me but one day when you yourself get to listen to the new Orpheus, you’ll think back to this day and say: ”Yeah, he was right”.
Vocals on this system sound extremely good and most of all incredibly realistic. I could swear Michael Jackson came back from the dead and was singing in that same room. Especially with the cross feed set on low, all music sounded so realistic. I don’t think I have ever heard violins sound this real, this good. Bass goes deep while keeping its detail with sublime layering. Could bass be more perfect? I doubt it. Treble is very extended but it’s never too much, it’s just how it’s supposed to be: lively, detailed and addictive. Orpheus’ balance and 3-dimensionality is breath taking but it will punish you for using low quality files. Orpheus doesn’t forgive.
During my listening session I tried as much genres as I possibly could: classical, jazz, rock, metal, pop, ballads, you name it. From Mozart to Melody Gardot to Sepultura , Orpheus did it all with the same ease and with the best of result.
All good things unfortunately come to an end and my time with the Orpheus passed quickly, leaving me excited and happy but also very sad. Sad, knowing none of my gear at home comes close to what I heard now. Sad, because it will take several months before I get to listen to the Orpheus again. What a week it has been.
The good news is that hopefully over the next few years, the technology will be trickled down to the “normal/high end” consumer products. After today, I’m convinced there are lots of very nice things to come in the following years.
What people have been asking me most is: “Is it worth $55K?”. And when I tell them it might be, they all say I’m crazy. The thing is that it is incredibly hard to put a price tag on all this. It clearly is the best I have ever heard, but is it $40K better than your high end home setup? That’s something only you can answer. Personally, if I were to win the lottery this weekend, I would immediately order one, no doubt about that. Make that two.
Sennheiser, you’ve done it (again). Thank you so much for having me and you can be sure I’ll be back.