Into the Abyss with AB-1266
Resembling something more of a medieval torture device, the Abyss AB-1266 headphones are some of the world's most expensive headphones, aside from diamond encrusted Beats offerings of course.
Made in USA, Abyss tout themselves as "the finest instruments for musical reproduction", and we're certainly not here to argue that. The AB-1266 is the flagship offering in an attempt to build the best sounding headphone on the market.
They're not light (at 660 grams), they're not pretty (see torture reference), but by all reports they sound superb and owning them instills a sense of belonging to a club, just like owning a Bentley, Rolls Royce or Rolex, I imagine.
George Poutakidis, Director of Busisoft, Australian distributors for Abyss, told StereoNET "AB-1266 was developed from the ground up by Joe Skubinski and his son Eric over a five year period. Being planar magnetic drivers, the search for the perfect diaphragm material, and then refining it, as well as the magnet design and overall implementation was endless".
AB-1266 are built in-house using only the finest materials. Machined from solid aluminium, the rigid chassis is vital to the overall sound quality of the AB-1266, and the planar magnetic transducer design uses matched driver pairs, which according to Abyss "offers amazing bandwidth and low level detail retrieval".
Supplied with dual balanced 2.5m XLR cables, and both 1/4" (6.3 mm) and 4 pin XLR cable Y-adaptors, which are custom made by JPS Labs for Abyss. Internal wiring is also by JPS Labs.
A heavy leather 'man-bag' carry case with extra room and pockets for a portable amp/DAC and an iPad is also included, for what Abyss says is a "completely portable high resolution playback system", but honestly we couldn't see many using these for the daily public transport commute.
Finally, a heavy aluminum headphone stand laser engraved with the Abyss logo for easy storage is also included, and all main components are permanently laser engraved for traceability and collectability. These are nice touches and certainly back up that "luxury" product feeling.
Frequency Response: 5 Hz to 28 KHz
Impedance: 46 ohms nominal (non-reactive)
Sensitivity: 85 dB
Distortion: Less than 1%; Less than 0.2% through ears most sensitive range
Weight: 660 grams (without cable)
Membership of the ultra-cool Abyss AB-1266 owners club will set you back $6699 RRP.
Melbourne based head-fi specialist Addicted to Audio currently has a pair on display and available for demonstration. We encourage you to drop in and check them out. Even if you're tyre-kicking, the store is worth dropping in on and George and team will most certainly welcome you.
StereoNET's Founder & Publisher and still buried deep in the review room auditioning everything from docks to soundbars, amplifiers to headphones. Marc also founded Melbourne's International HiFi Show.
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