HiFiMAN has introduced a new, premium electrostatic headphone system called Shangri-La. Several years in the making, Shangri-La builds upon HiFiMAN’s expertise in nanotechnology to create a cutting-edge headphone with virtually zero distortion and fast response. A custom-designed amplifier featuring four 300B tubes is an integral part of the cost-no-object experience. Shangri-La will be unveiled at the upcoming CES 2017 in Las Vegas but is available now to pre-order with estimated delivery in Spring 2017.
At the heart of the technology of the Shangri-La headphones is an ultra-thin driver made possible by nanotechnology. At less than 0.001mm, its nanotech driver is so thin, it is not visible from the side with the naked eye. Nano-particle coated sub-micrometer thickness diaphragm provides optimum high-frequency response. The new electrostatic design with ultra-thin film diaphragm and dedicated tube amplifier aims to deliver lifelike openness with virtually no distortion.
The companion amplifier is another important factor in Shangri-La’s innovation. Electrostatic headphones require high voltage. Solid-state circuitry cannot provide a sufficiently high voltage, so it requires the transformer to boost the voltage between 500 and 600 volts; however, this process introduces distortion. Therefore, vacuum tubes are required, so that the electrostatic amp does not need a transformer to drive electrostatic headphones. In the Shangri-La amplifier, HiFiMAN uses four 300B vacuum tubes.
According to HiFiMAN founder and president, Dr. Fang Bian, “Creating the world’s best sounding headphone has been my lifelong dream. While HiFiMAN has made many good headphones, and people certainly enjoy them, none has ever fully satisfied that dream. So, I set upon this journey in the Shangri-La project using my Ph.D. in nanotechnology to create a special ultra-thin driver for an electrostatic design. We then designed a special amplifier using 300B tubes, which creates a perfect match to the headphones and plays a critical role in the sound. I feel I have achieved my dream so I hope everyone at CES will come see us for an audition. I guarantee they will not be disappointed.”
For Shangri-La, HiFiMAN used a window shade grill design that provides driver protection, is optimized for open-back design, and also yields improved sound quality. It is structured for greater openness, which keeps the sound waves from second refraction to avoid unwanted vibration and distortion. The result is a wider soundstage and improved imaging.
The Shangri-La ear cups have been specially designed to fit the form of human ears. The ear pads are beveled so that they contour to the shape of the user’s head for comfort and extended listening, as well as a good acoustic seal. The ear pad’s hybrid design uses polyester for increased resolution.
The headband on Shangri-La combines a metal alloy with calf’s skin to form a sturdy arch structure. The perforation on the calf’s skin helps to dissipate heat. For additional comfort, the light mass also contributes to lessen the overall weight of the headphone.
The complete Shangri-La system is priced at $50,000 U.S. and is available to order now for estimated deliveries in late Spring 2017. Interested parties can inquire through their authorized HiFiMAN dealer or the company itself at firstname.lastname@example.org.