Why Is One Headset's Price Seven Times Another's?
Sennheiser's IE 800 cost $899, but they do sound great (though they don't actually have lights, as in this rendering).
The audio world is known for dubious claims about the marginal value of esoteric materials. But the new fashion, ceramic earbuds, seems to have substance. Based on listening to a few models here at the IFA Berlin tech show, I could discern the much-touted "neutral" audio quality. It doesn't make the high notes too tinny or the bass mushy or booming.
A range of music from an iPhone — from Pink Martini's "Anna" to Led Zeppelin's " Battle of Evermore" to Mastodon's "Blasteroid" — sounded freakishly real. I felt more there, perhaps, than if I had actually been there.
What I couldn't discern was a big difference between two new sets: the $899 Sennheiser IE 800 and the $120 Moshi Keramo. Moshi does brag about having an asymmetrical ceramic housing to reduce echoes. (It also provides a mic for phone calls.) All I can verify is that it sounded really good. For it's part, Sennheiser claims a much larger frequency range. Once again, it sounded great.
I don't want to do Sennheiser a disservice by basing criticism on my ignorant ears. I’m not a musician, with a very fine-tuned sense of tone and pitch. Someone like that might hear more in the IE 800 (due out this month) and find it worth the expense.
But for a casual listener, who maybe hasn't even heard of ceramic headphones, Moshi's Keramo (due in October) would probably make them very happy.