Audeze has officially announced CRBN (pronounced carbon), their first electrostatic headphone.
Audeze came up with the concept and technology behind CRBN through neuroscience research, with the intent to help patients with challenges regarding MRI machines. The thought or at least issue was traditional headphones (coil, planar and electrostatic), have issues in MRI machines due to the way they’re designed. The technology in CRBN gets around this, making them fully MRI compatible, ultimately improving patient comfort and communication.
After multiple tests, Audeze discovered these headphones sounded fantastic and created both the MRI and consumer version, CRBN. Prior to the announcement I actually had the good fortune to meet with Sankar Thiagasamudram, CEO Audeze, and experience CRBN.
For our meeting, CRBN was presented in a rather humble way, especially next to products I’ve had presented to me in the past. Thiagasamudram had, what I believe was a STAX SRM-D10 (CRBN is compatible with all STAX-type 580 volt amplifiers) connected to a MacBook Pro playing Apple Music.
The first song I got to hear was a rock song that felt like I was at a concert. Not only was the sound stage huge, they had fantastic range and really brought the vocals to life. It’s the type of experience that headphones attempt to capture and it did an impressive job. The other track was a bit different, the sounds were separated for each headphone but it retained that same realistic sound that impressed me with the first track.
In addition to that, the unit I got to hear was surprisingly light. I’m very familiar with things like the LCD-GX, which weighs about a pound (454g), compared to CRBN being listed at 300g/.6 lbs. This made them feel comfortable and the shape worked surprisingly well. I also greatly admired the way the grill looked. Pictures really don’t do it justice, as it’s the type of design that stands out in a way completely different than Audeze LCD line.
Those interested in trying them will be able to purchase them, starting today, from Audeze and select deals for $4,500. The cost includes CRBN, travel case and specially designed premium electrostatic cable. As noted above, these do require an amplifier, such as the aforementioned STAX-type 580 volt, which is not included.