Audeze CRBN electrostatic headphones


Audeze presents a new CRBN (pronounced “carbon”) electrostatic headphone. It has a distinct development history!

Having an MRI scan is an unpleasant and stressful experience for a lot of people. The narrow tunnel that you disappear into is just a bridge too far for some people’s peace of mind. To make such a scan a little more pleasant, it is a great idea to entertain yourself with some music during the scan. This could be done with speakers in the ceiling, but noise from the scanner quickly drowns out the entertainment. Headphones are much more convenient.

But an MRI scanner has an extremely powerfull magnetic field. If you were to use regular headphones in there, they would come right off your head and stick to the wall. The enormously strong HF pulses would also be audible. In short: a challenge to find something for it.

Audeze dared to do so, at the request of SMRT Image. They make communication equipment and devices to make patients feel more comfortable during scanning. In the end, only an electrostatic headphone encased in a frame of carbon nanofibers proved sufficient. ANC was also considered, so that all the irritating buzzing, bleeping and other distracting scan noises would be barely audible.

Manufactured separately per order

We do not know if the consumer version is exactly the same as the ‘medical’ version developed by Audeze. If you happen to have an MRI scanner at home, ask about its compatibility just to be sure.

According to Audeze, the CRBN headphones are the best sounding headphones in the world. A 5-pin connector is used as the jack, which is intended to be plugged into a Stax Pro Bias 580 Volt amplifier. The over-ear headphones cost $4500, with a delivery time of at least four weeks. This is because each one is manufactured to order.

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