Between using a standard pair of earbuds that come with a smartphone to spending thousands of dollars on a world-class audiophile flagship kit, everybody has their preferred way of listening. While free earbuds might make for a great on-the-go option, it’s hard to deny that the sound that comes from well-engineered headphones is actually worth it – depending on how important sound quality is to you.

While we’ve been seeing an influx of headphone designs over the past few years – thanks in no small part to iPhones and streaming music – the technology that goes into the headphones themselves is still based on the same basic audio engineering principals that have been around since a “headphone-listening experience” consisted of listeners sitting on their living room floor next to a stack of vinyl. Of course, now we have headphone options such as the Parrot Zik that bring smart controls and “virtual listening experiences” based on algorithms such as symphony halls and garages – but the real winners in hi-fi headphone audio are in the “flagship” category that aren’t necessarily available at your local Best Buy or Apple Store.

Among other flagship headphone options are the Fostex USA 25-Ohms TH900 Premium Stereo Headphones, which feature Japanese Lacquer Earcups and a 1.5 Tesla Magnetic Circuit. From a distance, one might ask why this $1,300 pair are any different from other “over the ear” headphones that one can pick up at Best Buy for $50, however this behind-the-scenes video of just the construction of the headphones alone might make you feel differently:

The TH900 Headphones feature housings made from Japanese Cherry Birch and are finished with Urushi lacquer – the same lacquer that’s been used for centuries and is commonly seen on various intricately-designed antique Japanese furniture pieces. While the video above sadly only focuses on the manufacturing process for the housing, the headphones also feature 2-inch dynamic drivers and a 25-ohm impedance, which helps prevent a “blow-out” and sustain sound quality. All of this is coming from a neodymium magnetic circuit that features a 15,000 gauss magnetic flux density for a wider range of sound from the lows to the highs.


For anybody who has wanted a 24/7 front-row seat at a symphony, the $1,300 price tag just might justify itself.


Simon is a Brooklyn-based industrial designer and Managing Editor of EVD Media. When he finds the time to design, his focus is on helping startups develop branding and design solutions to realize their product design vision. In addition to his work at Nike and various other clients, he is the main reason anything gets done at EvD Media. He once wrestled an Alaskan alligator buzzard to the ground with his bare hands… to rescue Josh.