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Planar magnetic headphone specialist Audeze announces the CRBN, its first electrostatic headphone

By Kenny Yeo - on 3 Aug 2021, 10:23am

Planar magnetic headphone specialist Audeze announces the CRBN, its first electrostatic headphone

The Audeze CRBN electrostatic headphone. (Image source: Audeze)

Audeze, a headphone company that specialises in planar magnetic headphones, has just announced the CRBN, its first electrostatic headphone.

CRBN is short for carbon and it's so-called because the headphone's diaphragm features a patent-pending polymer film filled with suspended carbon nanotubes.

The idea for using carbon came about when Audeze was trying to design headphones that would work in MRI machines with Prof. Mark S. Cohen of the UCLA School of Medicine.

You cannot use regular headphones in MRI machines because they have magnets and these magnets will interfere with the MRI machines' imaging capabilities.

Therefore, Audeze came up with the solution of designing an electrostatic headphone. Unlike typical headphones, electrostatic headphones do not have magnets and use electrical fields to move the diaphragm to create sound.

The special electrostatic driver in the CRBN headphone. (Image source: Audeze)

In doing so, Audeze realised that the new electrostatic driver that they have developed had very uniform driving force, which translates to very low distortion. This improves clarity, resolution, and transparency.

Unlike typical Audeze headphones, the CRBN headphone is very light. Thanks to a magnesium and carbon fibre construction, it weighs just 300g. The earpad and headband are genuine hand-stitched leather.

Like any electrostatic headphone, this requires a special electrostatic amplifier that supplies a DC bias voltage to the diaphragm. Thankfully, Audeze says the CRBN is compatible with any "Stax Pro Bias" 580 volt amplifier so there's no shortage of options to choose from. Brands like Woo Audio, Linear Turbe Audio, and Stax all make amplifiers that would work with the CRBN headphone.


Availability and pricing

No word yet on local availability and pricing but we will update once we hear more. The Audeze CRBN is made to order in the USA with a minimium four-week lead time. It is priced at US$4,500 (~S$6,085).

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