In development for two years, the Klipsch Heritage HP-3 headphones—the most exclusive pair the U.S. hi-fi brand has ever built—were finally introduced to the public earlier today at the Rocky Mountain Audio Fest. Named to honor the legacy of company founder Paul W. Klipsch, the new semi-open, over-ear model is highly efficient and incorporates the uncommon biodynamic driver design.
Unlike the diaphragms (the thin film contained within a driver whose motion produces sound waves) found in most dynamic drivers, the diaphragms on the Heritage HP-3 are made from inorganic fiber and a substance called bio cellulose, which is actually the byproduct of a specific type of bacteria. The material has a number of advantages over traditional diaphragms, namely the wide frequency range it can reproduce and the more even pistonic motion it follows—as opposed to the rocking, tilting, and wobbling that occurs on traditional diaphragms, which can color the sound. The result is clear, detailed audio reproduction that performs better in the low-end frequencies than most headphone designs.
The Heritage HP-3 also stands out from the headphone pack thanks to its impressive efficiency—one of the company’s core speaker design principles. The cans require so little power that they can be driven directly by nearly any audio source (including smartphones) without requiring a dedicated headphone amplifier—though one would certainly make a welcome pairing.
And while great attention was paid to the headphones’ sonic characteristics, the exterior design was not forgotten. Living up to its “Heritage” designation, the HP-3 sports a retro design that pairs steel and aluminum with premium materials like sheepskin (on the ear pads) and solid wood (either oak, walnut, or ebony). Given their good looks, it would be a shame to store them in a desk drawer or bag, so Klipsch provides a custom solid-steel headphone stand with each pair.
Priced at $1,200, the Heritage HP-3 is already available online and at select retailers.