Real, pure, soul searching, heart wrenching, hip shaking, shoulder swaying. Whatever your genre, whatever your taste, whatever makes you head bang on the subway or relax at night, you should be listening to it properly. Music was made to be heard, really and truly listened to. Not through tinny laptop speakers, via  oddly fitting earbuds or poorly made (but cool looking) hipster knock offs. You need the real deal—that’s Ultrasone.

The specialized headphone company based out of South Germany’s Alps are experts in the audio industry, focusing on creating a surround sound musical experience from each pair of headphones they produce.

Ultrasone‘s ultra-luxe Special Edition 8 Palladium headphones are an audiophiles dream. Aesthetically, they are drop dead gorgeous. Acoustically, they knock your socks off. Only 888 units have been created worldwide, each one meticulously hand-made in Germany with the latest listening technology (think brilliant three dimensional sound), brushed Palladium outer cups and noise isolating Ethiopian sheepskin to complete the lavish aesthetic. We managed to get our hands on an exclusive pair to see if they were up to Alister & Paine Elite Lifestyle standards.

So how good are they really?  As good as their high end price tag suggests. The sound is Ultrasone at it’s very best—clear, balanced, cold perfection.  It seems hard to justify $1699 for a pair of headphones, but after wearing these just once you start to consider that price a bargain.

Some headphones stretch your ears, some headphones squash your ears; the Special Edition 8 Palladiums become one with your ears.  The lambskin pads are simply the most comfortable earpieces I have ever experienced, and with these cans you want maximum comfort to be able to enjoy the quality of the sound.  You’ll never want to take them off.

George Martin’s Beatles’ remix album “Love” was used as a reference source for reviewing; there are certain tracks where Martin mashed up dozens of Beatles samples (using the ultimate rock band seemed fitting to test out the ultimate audiophile headphones). The accuracy of the signal with these headphones made me think that I could separately distinguish and focus on each sample, while at the same time appreciating the very musical sound wave generated by the drivers.  It’s pretty incredible.

The byword for these ‘phones is “organic”.  Everything I listened to sounded perfectly natural and balanced, from Wilco to Wagner, and the soundstage was always natural and transparent.  This, along with the comfort factor, often made me forget that I was wearing headphones at all, and that the music was simply floating in midair, cloudlike around my head.  And that really should be the test of a musical delivery system, that the medium standing between the performer and the listener is as invisible as possible….in this regard Ultrasone Special Edition 8 Palladium succeeded admirably indeed.

It’s a beautiful marriage of luxury, comfort, and audiophilic fantasy. Take a moment. Truly listen to your music. You’ll never go back to earbuds. MSRP $1699