The Sennheiser Orpheus originally debuted back in 1991. It was designed and sold as a complete system: a table-top stereo tube amplifier, the power supply, an internal DAC, all the cabling, and of course the headphones themselves. The engineers in Germany used exotic materials to give the Orpheus sort of a timeless, Art-Deco-meets-steampunk vibe. It’s an electrostatic system — instead of traditional speaker cones inside the earcups, you’ll find thin pieces of film that vibrate when stimulated by electrical currents. The sound is amazing: lively, super-nuanced, and intimate.
Only 300 units were produced, and each one sold for $12,500 — a very large sum of money for a headphone rig, even by today’s standards. Twenty years later, a complete Orpheus system can fetch upward of $25,000 if it’s in really good condition. Given less than half that money, you could construct a modern electrostatic headphone rig that sounds pretty close.