Pioneer has long been known for the quality of their products, especially the top-of-the-line DJ headphones that frequently enter the “industry standard” conversation. With the release of their latest pair, the 5 year in the making SE-MASTER1, the Japanese gear company throws its hat into the high end headphone arena.

As a company with an extensive history of audio equipment ranging from low end to high end, Pioneer seeks to alter the audiophile headphone market with their latest creation. The SE-MASTER1‘s development took over five years to complete, which is quite some time for a single product development. Still though, it can be said that Pioneer has been developing the SE-Master 1 ever since 1960 when the companies first SE-1 headphone was introduced. In the pursuit of an enriched musical experience, we designed and engineered these headphones with a focus on technical supremacy and purity in sound and design,” Pioneer’s Product Executive, Geoff Loveday, said of the product. “We poured our advanced technological know-how into every step of the journey – from design to production and quality control– so your headphones deliver excellence without compromise,” Loveday continues.


The handcrafted headphones (by master craftsmen at Pioneer’s Tohoku factory), created in conjunction with Onkyo, are made from a combination of duralumin and aluminium, have soft leather ear pads and feature newly developed 50mm driver units with a Parker Ceramic Coating, which is said to reduce distortion while providing a smoother listening experience. Each set of SE-MASTER 1 is engraved with its own serial number, making it unique to its owner. Additionally, the SE-MASTER 1 design was also fine tuned at London’s famed AIR Studios, with its Technical Director Tim Vine-Lott proclaiming, “I’ve tuned many audio products in the past, but tuning the SE-MASTER 1 was an interesting and challenging experience, completely different to working with amplifiers and speakers. Headphones have none of the adjustable electric circuits you’d find in amplifiers or speaker systems, and the smallest change could have unexpected effects on sound quality- e.g. if we slightly altered the size of the hole controlling the backpressure of the driver units. But , working with Pioneer’s engineers, we were able to achieve the best sound quality. I really hope everyone will enjoy the wonderful sound of the SE-MASTER 1”.

As one can imagine, this combination of technicality and high quality materials does lend itself to a higher than average retail price. The pre-order price for UK customers is 1,699 £ which is roughly 2,380 €. Of course, these limited edition headphones are none to use when listening to your iPhone en route to work, but Hi-Fi forums and websites show that interest in these beauties is high, making it seem like the series can be an admission to the high end headphone market for Pioneer.

Find more information on the SE-MASTER 1HERE