The ultimate objective of modern headphones development is to reproduce sound that is as lifelike and direct as possible. That is also the aim of the engineers and acoustic developers at Sennheiser. For more than 60 years, the name Sennheiser has been synonymous with high-quality products in all areas of recording, transmitting and reproducing sound. The audio specialist from Wedemark continues to design and manufacture high-end headphones for the very highest demands, taking care to apply state-of-the-art and pioneering technology – and always driven by the ideal of achieving sound in perfection.
The milestones of headphones development
The history of high-end sound began with the HD 414. The world’s first open headphones revolutionised the headphones market in 1968. For the first time, the ears could hear in a way that they are accustomed to: open and free in space. With its new principle, the HD 414 triggered an absolute boom in headphones sales. More than 100,000 sets of headphones had already been sold by the end of 1969. Even today, the HD 414, which has long since gained cult status, is still the bestselling headphones in the world, with sales of over 10 million units to date.
A further milestone followed when Sennheiser engineers for the first time combined the principle of open headphones with that of electrostatic transducer technology. Sennheiser’s launch of the unipolar 2000 model in 1977 caused a sensation in the audio world. Its principle was once again an innovation in audio technology. In the electrostatic transducer, a high voltage is applied to two mesh-like electrodes. As in a loudspeaker, this voltage causes a coated foil diaphragm to vibrate in time with the audio signal. This results in an extremely fine resolution and low total harmonic distortion.
From a veritable flood of new headphones being introduced, one in particular stood out like a beacon in 1991: the electrostatic Orpheus HE 90/HEV 90. With the boldly ambitious mission to build the best headphones in the world, Sennheiser developers once again set to work – and once again exceeded all expectations of the audio sector with these electrostatic headphones and their impressive tube pre-amplifier. Due to the extremely complex technology involved, the “divine” Orpheus was produced in a limited edition of just 300 units. These legendary headphones still remain the ultimate benchmark for audiophile listening and for all high-end models that audio specialist Sennheiser continues to develop.
The one of a kind: the HD 800
The latest high-end products are all focused on guaranteeing perfect sound reproduction. The current highlight of this development is the HD 800. With this model, Sennheiser is taking up the tradition of the legendary Orpheus and has developed a set of audiophile headphones that offers the ultimate in reproduction precision and unique spatiality. The key component of these dynamic headphones is a 56 mm transducer. Its innovative ring design reduces distortion to a minimum even with a transducer as large as 56 mm, as the vibrating part of the diaphragm is not a circular surface area but only an annular section. Significantly less material thus results in less inertia and less additional vibration in high frequency ranges. The result: benefiting from total harmonic distortion of less than 0.02 percent (at 1 kHz and 100 dB sound pressure level), the HD 800 with its brilliant trebles and precise bass offers a sound image of unsurpassed clarity.
The Maestro: the HD 700
The HD 700 features a perfect combination of outstanding acoustic properties and sophisticated product design. Its styling and material selection have been thought through down to the finest detail in order to fully exploit the sound potential of the acoustic unit. The ear cups are designed in such a way that the sound waves are directed to the ears at a slight angle. This results in an impressively natural listening experience. The ear cups themselves have a completely open design. This not only ensures a highly transparent sound but also clearly displays the "heart" of these exciting headphones: the 40 mm Duofol transducer. Its powerful neodymium magnet systems guarantee detailed, lifelike audio reproduction from 10 to 42,000 Hz. To ensure that the acoustic properties of the headphones are not impaired by any partial vibrations, the transducer is mounted in a high-precision gauze made of stainless steel, as is the case in the HD 800 reference headphones.
The Lively and the Timeless: the HD 600 and HD 650
True classics in the Sennheiser high-end world are the HD 600 and HD 650. Both models are open, dynamic, hi-fi stereo headphones with highly optimised transducer systems. Extremely light aluminium drive coils ensure excellent transient response. The HD 600 generates an exceptionally lifelike, spatial and accurate sound image with a frequency response of 12 to 39,000 Hz while the HD 650 has an even greater expressiveness and emotion than the HD 600. The frequency response is 10 to 39,500 Hz. A specially developed acoustic silk with precisely constant attenuation keeps total harmonic distortion down to 0.05% (at 1 kHz).
The Boundless: the RS 220
With its new RS 220 wireless headphones, Sennheiser is opening up a new class of wireless listening. The digital wireless headphones guarantee a high-end sound image while offering total freedom of movement. The RS 220 transmits the audio signals without compression via a 2.4 GHz connection. To prevent interference during transmission, the transmitter uses what is known as frequency spreading. The output signal is spread to an impressive width of 22 MHz. If interference occurs at one point within this frequency range, the output signal experiences no interference, as the data are transmitted with redundancy, in other words, several times. A further advantage of the new transmission process is a low latency, and therefore a minimal delay time of the audio signal. For a perfect sound experience, the RS 220 can be connected via various inputs: an analogue, a coaxial digital and an optical digital input. Discerning users can therefore decide themselves on the type and quality of the audio signal being fed in.
Vorm geven aan de sound van morgen en voor zijn klanten unieke klankervaringen tot stand brengen… Dat is het doel waarrond wereldwijd alle medewerkers en partners van Sennheiser zich verenigen. De onderneming is opgericht in 1945 en uitgegroeid tot een van ’s werelds toonaangevende producenten van koptelefoons, microfoons en draadloze zendersystemen. Met zijn 21 verkoopfilialen en partnerrelaties van vele jaren is de groep actief in ruim 50 landen. Daarnaast telt hij nog eens eigen productiefaciliteiten in Duitsland, Ierland, Roemenië en de VS. Sinds 2013 staat met Daniel Sennheiser en Dr. Andreas Sennheiser de derde generatie van de familie aan het hoofd van de onderneming. In 2017 genereerde de Sennheiser-groep een omzet van in totaal € 667,7 miljoen.