Founded in 1945, German audio company Sennheiser is this year celebrating its 70th anniversary, and, having throughout the course of its history presided over an extensive list of audio innovations, has its sights firmly fixed on future product development.Today, Sennheiser’s reach extends globally, and, now in its third generation of operation, it remains a family-owned and operated business.
Sennheiser’s origins lie in Wennebostel, near Hanover in Germany, where it was founded as Laboratorium Wennebostel (Labor W) by electrical engineer professor Dr Fritz Sennheiser, initially producing tube volt meters.
The product range gradually expanded, and in 1947 Labor W launched its first microphone developed in-house.
In 1956, the first “shotgun” microphone was launched, and a year later the company was producing 100 different types of products.
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In 1958, the Sennheiser electronic name was adopted, with the brand building momentum in the proceeding years, with the MD 421 microphone introduced in 1960, and the MKH 804 and MKH 805, the first models in Sennheiser’s series of MKH shotgun microphones, launched in 1964.
In 1968, Sennheiser made a significant advancement in the headphone industry, unveiling the world’s first open headphones in the form of the HD 414, which, with over 10 million units sold, remain the best selling headphone ever.
Today, Sennheiser’s product catalogue encompasses microphones, headphones, wired microphone and monitoring systems, conference and information technology, products for assistive listening, and aviation headsets.
It was back in 1982 that Sennheiser’s first change of generations took place, with professor Dr Jorg Sennheiser, Fritz Sennheiser’s son, appointed managing director of the company, while his father became a limited partner.
Jorg Sennheiser made his stamp on Sennheiser, gradually modernising the company’s structure, and driving it towards further international expansion.
During his time in charge, Sennheiser opened its third production plant in Tullamore, Ireland, and a branch office for research and development in the USA.
An additional plant followed in Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA, while a joint venture with Denmark’s William Demant Holding was initiated, leading the way to the foundation of Sennheiser Communications in 2003.
The third Sennheiser generation took the reins in 2013, with Daniel Sennheiser and Dr Andreas Sennheiser, the sons of Jorg Sennheiser, taking over as CEOs.
The same year saw the opening of new Sennheiser subsidiaries in Australia and New Zealand, and Switzerland, along with the ground-breaking ceremony for Sennheiser’s “Innovation Campus”, built on the company site in Germany.
“Here, as at our worldwide innovation centres, we will work in cross-functional teams that bring together our breadth of expertise to shape unique solutions, such as ones to individualise audio content even more,” Daniel Sennheiser stated of the company’s approach.
The new releases have kept coming in 2015, and at this year’s CES, Sennheiser launched a number of new products, among which were its Urbanite XL Wireless headphones, a wireless version of its Urbanite headphone series.
Today, Sennheiser employs more than 2,700 staff worldwide, operates plants in Germany, Ireland and the USA, and has subsidiaries in France, Great Britain, Belgium, the Netherlands, Switzerland and Liechtenstein, Germany, Denmark, Russia, Hong Kong, India, Singapore, Japan, China, Australia and New Zealand, Canada, Mexico, and the USA.