1 Abyss AB-1266 ($5,495)
Crafted using solid aluminum and implementing planar magnetic technology, the Abyss AB-1266 is the top resident of the Mt. Olympus of high end and pricey headphones. Aside from high grade aluminum, this device also made excellent use of carbon steel for its front baffle and lambskin pads for cushion. But going past these premium elements, the Abyss AB-1266 produces headphone sound no other brands can parallel. As CNET tester Steve Guttenberg points out, “it outruns the competition in every way I evaluate headphone sound.”
2 Ultrasone Edition 5 ($4,999)
Another popular name in the audiophiles’ circles, Ultrasone could easily occupy three or four spots on this list as the company is known for high end as well as ultra expensive headphones. The new Edition 5 are slated for release next month but the clamor for the model has been very high. Priced at nearly $5,000, this model boasts titanium-coated 40 mm drivers, bog oak with a seven-layer varnish finish, and plush Ethiopian sheep leather. More than just top quality sound, you get a piece of luxury as well.
3 Stax SR-009 ($4,450)
While the Stax SR-009 does not parade a very appealing design from a visual standpoint, it is nonetheless one of the best high end headphones produced ever. Remember an old saying about books and their covers? That adage applies aptly to this specific model. If you care to go past beyond what you see, you will know that the SR-009 from Stax is a solid performer. Inside, one will find that the SR-009 utilizes electrostatic drivers. While they function similarly to planar magnetic drivers, the construction of the SR-009 is much more intricate as the diaphragm is suspended in electrostatic field instead of being embedded in thin film. This structure allows the SR-009 to produce sounds that experts described as “deep”, “pure”, and “beautiful”.
4 Audeze LCD-3 ($1,945)
Audeze produces top quality headphones and has been consistent with what they bring to the table. And nothing represents Audeze better than the LCD-3 model. The open-back headphone can perform at par with its contemporaries, thanks to its internal construction that includes planar magnetic drivers. Overall, this product offers a unique a unique audio experience that makes you want to just lie down and listen to your playlist all day long.
5 Grado PS1000 ($1,695)
While most expensive headphones today flaunt distinctive and edgy designs to make them more visually appealing, the Grado PS1000 intends to shy away from being flashy by implementing an old school look. And it works perfectly. This model has no flash but throws an all-business, straight up attitude that you want in a headphone. And unsurprisingly, the Grado PS1000 delivers the goods.