Yes, This Exists: $1,000 Earbuds

Half-inch earphones that sound as good as over-the-ear cans

Sennheiser IE 800

Claire Benoist

For all their convenience, earphones have never matched the quality of over-the-ear headphones (a.k.a. cans). Their compact drivers can't range from deep bass to high soprano. Companies have tried using multiple, differently tuned drivers, but that can degrade the signal. Instead, designers at Sennheiser built a new, seven-millimeter driver and acoustic housing for the IE 800—the first earphones with over-the-ear sound.

Sennheiser IE 800

Weight: 0.3 ounces
Frequency range: 5 Hz–46,500 kHz
Price: $1,000

Speaker Driver

Rather than use the compact drivers typical of earphones (called balanced armatures), designers shrank a dynamic driver, a larger mechanism found in speakers and cans. Audio transmits through a copper coil, and the coil pushes a diaphragm, which generates sound waves. One driver can produce the entire audio range.

Bass Vents

Rather than use the compact drivers typical of earphones (called balanced armatures), designers shrank a dynamic driver, a larger mechanism found in speakers and cans. Audio transmits through a copper coil, and the coil pushes a diaphragm, which generates sound waves. One driver can produce the entire audio range.

Sound Absorbers

Rather than use the compact drivers typical of earphones (called balanced armatures), designers shrank a dynamic driver, a larger mechanism found in speakers and cans. Audio transmits through a copper coil, and the coil pushes a diaphragm, which generates sound waves. One driver can produce the entire audio range.

Exploded View

Courtesy Sennheiser