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11/12/2015 Wedemark

A history of sound in perfection - An insight into Sennheiser´s high-end world

The ultimate objective of headphone development is to reproduce sound that is as lifelike and direct as possible. For more than 70 years, the name Sennheiser has been synonymous with high-quality products, excellent sound and numerous innovations. The audio specialist from Wedemark continues to design and manufacture headphones for the very highest audiophile demands, taking care to apply state-of-the-art and pioneering technology – always driven by the ideal of achieving sound in perfection and by the vision to shape the future of audio. The pursuit of this goal by Sennheiser’s engineers and acoustic developers is now embodied by the new Sennheiser HE 1. With the iconic headphone system, the successor of the legendary Orpheus, Sennheiser once again surpasses the limits of what is technically possible and opens a new chapter in audio excellence.

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The milestones of headphones development
The history of audiophile 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. The sound could travel to the ear drum much more naturally and clearly than in the closed models which were available at that time. 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. Until today, the HD 414 remains one of the best-selling headphone models in the world, with a total of over 10 million units sold.

A further milestone followed when Sennheiser engineers combined the principle of open headphones with that of electrostatic transducer technology for the first time. 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. Just like 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. “Its frequency curve has a relatively deep curvature from 2 to 4 kHz. This is one of the reasons why these headphones generate an extremely spacious, detailed, transparent, airy and nevertheless powerful sound image in unprecedented quality," was how audio magazine ‘Hifi-Stereofonie’ sang the praises of the new headphones.

From a veritable flood of new headphones being introduced, one in particular stood out like a beacon in 1990/1991: the electrostatic Orpheus HE 90/HEV 90. With the boldly ambitious mission to build the best headphones in the world, Sennheiser developers set to work – and exceeded all expectations of the audio sector with these electrostatic headphones and their impressive tube amplifier. Two platinum-coated diaphragms vibrate between gold-coated glass electrodes. A 500 volt tube amplifier provides enough power to allow the Orpheus to fully unleash its sound. Due to the extremely complex technology involved, the Orpheus was produced in a limited edition of just 300 units.

Reshaping Excellence
Until the launch of its successor, the legendary Orpheus HE 90/HEV 90 remained the ultimate benchmark for audiophile listening. The new Sennheiser HE 1, launched in November 2015, now redefines this benchmark for a new era with peerless sound quality delivered by breakthrough technical innovations.

This milestone product delivers an unprecedented, ultra-wide frequency range from 8 Hz to more than 100 kHz – exceeding the human auditory range. The purity of the sound is formed by every component of the headphone system: A completely new amplifier design combines the best of tube and transistor amplifiers in an amplifier housing of the finest Carrara marble. Patented high-voltage amplifiers, which are integrated directly into the cups of the headphones, increase efficiency by 200% over other solutions currently available. Gold-vaporized ceramics are used in the electrodes to ensure outstanding acoustic performance, while silver-plated cables are used for optimum conductivity when carrying the sound to the headphones. Finally the sound itself is produced by 2.4 micrometer, platinum-vaporized diaphragms – proved by research to be the optimal size for sound reproduction. Sennheiser has developed a product with lower distortion than has ever been measured in sound reproduction equipment, at just 0.01 percent at 100 dB SPL at 1 kHz – and has once again created the world’s best headphones.

The Sennheiser audiophile world today
This spirit of innovation embodied by the new Sennheiser HE 1 is also present across Sennheiser’s latest audiophile products, which focus on perfect sound reproduction. With the HD 800 S, the audio specialist presented a new version of the audiophile classic HD 800 in late 2015. With the HD 800, the audio specialist had developed a set of high-end headphones that offer outstanding reproduction precision and unique spatiality. Acoustically, the proven transducer technology and the innovative earcup design of the HD 800 are still being employed in the HD 800 S, while the sound image has been further optimized in the medium and low frequency range

The digital headphone amplifier HDVD 800 offers a balanced sound image, maximum precision and impressive spatiality. The high-end device has a fully symmetrical layout for operation with analogue audio sources, thus ensuring absolutely symmetrical signal transmission from the source to the headphones. Especially designed for the use with digital sources, the HDVD 800 features an extra high-quality Burr-Brown digital/analogue converter that converts digital audio data into analogue signals with a resolution of 24 bits and a sampling rate of up to 192 kHz. This enables the amplifier to transmit the entire frequency spectrum of high-end audio sources without any loss of frequencies. It harmonizes perfectly with Sennheiser’s audiophile headphone range, thus perfecting the Sennheiser sound experience.

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 feature 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.

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, while neodymium ferrous magnet systems guarantee maximum efficiency. The HD 600 generates an exceptionally lifelike, spatial and accurate sound image with a frequency response of 12 to 39,000 Hz. With its deeper bass and pleasantly natural trebles, the HD 650’s emphasis is on even greater expressiveness and emotion. The frequency response is 10 to 39,500 Hz.

The IE 800 headphones from Sennheiser are the ones with the most innovations per square millimetre. The sound of the IE 800 can easily compete with that of the full-sized models in Sennheiser’s audiophile portfolio. These dynamic ear-canal headphones offer fascinatingly brilliant trebles, precise bass response and a detailed, lifelike sound image with a frequency response of 5 to 46,500 Hz. The centrepiece is the specially developed Extra Wide Band (XWB) driver. With a diameter of just 7 mm, it is the smallest wide-band sound transducer currently available in dynamic headphones.

With the HD 630VB, launched in 2015, Sennheiser introduces its first closed audiophile headphone model. With these headphones, the audio specialist combines the brilliant sound of open audiophile models with excellent passive ambient noise attenuation. The HD 630VB delivers an impressively spatial sound image, while allowing for the users to enjoy their listening experience without any distractions. Specifically developed for the HD 630VB, Sennheiser’s proprietary high-performance transducer is the “heart” of this model. It delivers the power for an intense bass experience which can be customized via a rotary bass dial according to the listening environment, the music being played and the user’s individual preferences. The audio specialist’s first closed-back audiophile headphones are a further milestone in the history of audiophile product development at Sennheiser.

70 years of innovation
Sennheiser has made a significant impact on the evolution of audio technology over the past decades. Numerous patents and awards – including an Emmy, a Grammy, a Scientific and Engineering Award of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, and the Engineering Emmy‘s® Philo T. Farnsworth Award – bear witness to the company’s unique innovative drive. In 2015, the audio specialist celebrated its 70th anniversary. The company is now headed by a third generation of the Sennheiser family: today’s CEOs, Daniel Sennheiser and Dr. Andreas Sennheiser, are the grandchildren of the company’s founder, Prof. Dr. Fritz Sennheiser.


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Maik Robbe
Tel: +49 5130 600 1028

Global Contacts

Jacqueline Gusmag
Tel: +49 5130 600 1540

Mareike Oer
CE, Corporate
Tel: +49 5130 600 1719

塑造未來音頻並為客戶創建獨特的聲音體驗-這就是Sennheiser全體員工和全球合作夥伴共同的目標。成立於1945年的Sennheiser一直是全球範圍內耳機、咪高峰和無線傳輸系統產品製造廠商中的佼佼者。公司在50多個國家中擁有21個銷售公司和長期的貿易合作夥伴,並且在德國、愛爾蘭、羅馬尼亞和美國擁有自己管理和控制的產品生產基地。自2013年以來,Sennheiser公司開始由Daniel Sennheiser和Dr. Andreas Sennheiser共同管理,成為了家族企業的第三代管理者。在2017年,Sennheiser集團的整體營業額達到了6.667億歐元。