Talking during a hi-fi listening session is very much verboten - except in room 2121 at the Show, where happy visitors are listening to the selection of quality headwear being demonstrated by Addicted to Audio and BusiSoft AV.

Among the treasures on dem are the new Grado Labs flagship, the PS2000e - "simply the best headphone we have ever produced and, perhaps, the best in the world" as Grado so modestly puts it, with redesigned diaphragm geometry and a hand-carved maple inner chamber clad with a new Smoked Chrome finish. Frequency response is quoted up to 50kHz. "We used all our best stuff", says the Brooklyn-based company, with three generations of Grado expertise encapsulated within the design.

Above is the latest from HiFiMan, the $7500 Susvara model, a planar magnetic headphone making interesting use of "stealth" magnets, so called because of a slotted design which allows sound waves to pass through unimpeded compared with conventional planar magnetic or electrostatic designs. They're a tough drive at 83dB efficiency, we were told by BusiSoft AV's knowledgeable Jesse Ross, but top frequency here is 75kHz!

Something smaller? You can audition the Audeze LCDi4, which scales down the award-winning LCD-4 to improve portability while delivering a claimed bass response that's "flat from 900Hz down to 5Hz".

Further down the table were the $6999 Sonoma Model One electrostatic headphones, supplied as a system with their own 'DAC + Energizer' to deliver the best from the High-Precision Electrostatic Laminate (HPEL) audio transducers, developed by Warwick Audio Technologies and used for the first time in the Sonoma Model One. The electrostatic transducer claims very low moving mass for extended high frequency response to over 60kHz, promising "unmatched transient response".

Need a headphone amplifier? It's hard not to love Woo Audio's dedicated amps, and the WA33 was all aglow at the Show with its nine valves (four 2A3 power valves, four 6C45 driver valves and a 5U4G rectifier) in this fully balanced Direct-Heated Triode, Class A, Output-transformer design; price $11,999.
 
A possible last-minute arrival at the Show could be Hi-FiMan's Shangri La electrostatic headphone system, dubbed the rival to Sennheiser's HE 1 (the HE 1, successor to the Orpheus, is also at the Show, in a dedicated room with bookable private listening sessions). The Shangri La will rival the HE 1,  in price as well as purported quality, with an Australian price expected to be around $78,000. Lumme! Pretty, though (see below), loaded with nanotechnology and coming with its dedicated amplifier boasting custom-made 300b valves in an amazing piece of sculptural design.
 
HiFiMan Shangri La $78,000