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When Axel Grell, engineer at German company Sennheiser, chose the music to test what he thinks is the world’s best headphone, he turned not to Teutonic hi-tech sounds from Kraftwerk or Paul van Dyk, but instead used some good old blues records. “John Lee Hooker is my favourite testing artist,” says Grell, an acoustics developer who is nicknamed the Headphone Pope by his colleagues. “I simply know every note and every distortion on these records. I know how the music is supposed to sound.”

This sums up his firm’s down-to earth approach towards its…

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