Audeze’s CRBN electrostatic headphones can withstand MRI scanners

August 16, 2021

Audeze headsets have incredible respect among audiophiles, but for the production of CRBN (pronounced carbon), the California based company was initially tasked to create headphones that could be safely used inside MRI (magnetic resonance imagining) scanners. The results were deemed so successful that Audeze has decided to bring the same technology to its consumer headphones with the release of CRBN.

Weighing only 300 grams, the minimalist open-back design is geared toward comfort and luxury with plush, oversized earpads, etched grilles, magnesium housing and hand-stitched leather.

Audeze worked in conjunction with SMRT Image, a company that manufactures technology to aid communication and alleviate patient discomfort around MRI, to build a product that could overcome the difficult acoustic environment inside scanners where the SPL can hit 120 dB. Moreover, because the electromagnetic fields produced inside MRI scanners are both strong and sensitive to interference, conventional moving coil drivers with ferrous metals could not be used. This led to the development of an electrostatic driver headset with a carbon nanotube diaphragm (that can be used within an MRI machine without issue) and active noise-cancelling to block out the noise, helping patients relax by listening to music or to respond to instructions from doctors.

As Audeze CEO Sankar Thiagasamudram put it, “CRBN headphones are a chance for us to make not only the best-sounding headphones in the world but headphones that have a purpose and measurable social impact.”

The CRBN headphones are terminated to a five-pin barrel connector designed to work with Stax Pro Bias 580 Volt amplifiers. Audeze’s CRBN electrostatic headphones will retail for $4500, with every pair made to order.


by Anil George
Avid follower of all things tech. In between his quest for the ultimate gizmo, Anil fiddles with light meters, collects rare books and feeds his fetish for Jap horror movies. As Managing Editor of T3 Middle East for the GCC, Anil oversees content direction across print and digital. He was a CES 2020 Innovation Awards Judge, reprising his role as an Innovation Awards Judge at CES 2018, CES 2017, 2016 and 2015. Anil is also the Middle East's first Brand Ambassador for Ashdown Engineering. Reach him at: