$3000 headphones – for your iPhone!?
It’s fascinating to see Shure respond to what must be a demand in the market for Ultra-premium portable headphone systems. With portable headphone amplifiers available at a huge range of price points, Shure’s SHA900 was certainly a quality offering at $999 and seems to be well liked by those who have forked over the cash.
If you want to max out your portable setup with Shure toys, you could grab yourself a set of the Shure SE846 sound isolating in-ear headphones for another quick $999. Again these are a top shelf offering and receive stellar reviews from those who own them. As an off the shelf in-ear goes, you have arrived.
So where do you go from there? With two thousand dollars invested in premium portable headphone technology, surely you should be experiencing the height of portable audiophile pleasure. No such luck!
Tackling a technology that has been historically non-portable, Shure has managed to pair a set of electrostatic earphones with a amplifier capable of delivering the high-voltage required to drive them, all while retaining the form factor of the SHA900. Enter the $3000 Shure KSE1500 system yes… you read that correctly, three thousand dollars.
The system comes complete with a full compliment of accessories, including charger, cables, carrying cases for both the amplifier and the earphones, and an interesting rubber band system for attaching it somehow to your phone or portable device of choice.
Online reviews for these are some of the highest rated I have ever seen, with reviewers suggesting remarkable and revolutionary differences even in comparison to their other premium listening setups. The biggest downside to this system is simply that the headphones and amp are only compatible with one another, and will not operate with any other systems. The headphones cannot be driven by any other amp, nor can the amplifier drive a standard set of headphones.
It will be interesting to see how these do in the long term, after a few months on the market they seem very popular and one wonders if we will begin to see this technology filter down into more affordable price points as manufacturing processes continue to advance. I’ll be on the hunt for an opportunity to experience these in the near future, but at this price point, I don’t think I’ll be able to justify a pair for myself anytime soon.