Different horses for different courses. I did room acoustic research for a couple years, I was on teams who provided input for actual music halls. To me, every small room 2 channel setup sounds weird without a lot of treatment. Some people live in apartments (e.g. me) and can't do a lot to our living rooms. Others travel a lot and need to bring most of their system with them. The SR1a isn't great for traveling (although I've brought mine on a few trips) but you can use them while working, and they're pretty nice for home offices and such. The $1,500 speaker needs another $500 in room materials, at the bare minimum, for most rooms to take out standing echos and add enough absorption. If you live with other people, they may object to you using speakers at night, or in the morning, or get a noise complaint from the guy next door. Headphones don't have any of those issues. Dust is fine for aluminum ribbons, you're confusing them with Electrostatic membranes which are actually susceptible to dust damage. And since the drivers are user replaceable, even in the worst case scenario, you're out no more than $350 plus shipping. $3,500 is pricy, but that's where the greater headphone market is at these days, and with the SR1a's you get something that's arguably unprecedented, as opposed to more limited and incremental upgrades from just about every other player in the business.