Sennheiser reflects on 70 years of innovation
WORLD: Now headed by the third generation of the family, Sennheiser is celebrating its 70th anniversary this year. Originally founded by Professor Dr Fritz Sennheiser in June 1945, the German manufacturer has made a significant impact on the pro and consumer audio industries with its ethos of making good existing technologies better through consistent innovation.
At its inception, the fledgling company produced tube volt meters under the name Laboratorium Wennebostel – or Labor W for short. Despite selling well, Professor Sennheiser had bigger ambitions and just two years later, after expanding the product range, launched Labor W’s first in-house developed microphone. The first shotgun microphone followed in 1956, and a year later more than a 100 different types of products were already in production. In early 1958, the company was renamed Sennheiser electronic.
By 1982 the time was right for a change of leadership, and Professor Fritz Sennheiser’s son, Professor Dr Jörg Sennheiser, was appointed managing director, while his father became a limited partner. This phase of the company’s leadership was characterised by a gradual modernisation and internationalisation of the business’s structure, turning Sennheiser into a GmbH & Co KG. An additional production plant was subsequntly opened in Tullamore, Ireland, and a branch office for research and development in Burbank, California, USA. Another additional plant again followed in Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA, and a joint venture with Denmark’s William Demant Holding was initiated, forging a path for the founding of Sennheiser Communications A/S in 2003.
Mid way through 2013, the grandsons of the founder, Daniel Sennheiser and Dr Andreas Sennheiser, took over as joint CEOs. Fittingly, the brothers are reported to both share the same entrepreneurial ambition that has enabled the company to grow to more than 2,700 employees. In recognition of the importance of innovation to the company’s successful history, the manufacturer is building an Innovation Campus at its offices in Wedemark, Germany, to be opened in March.
‘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 explained. ‘In the future, we will align our product development even more closely to customers’ true needs, wherever they arise – on live stages, at professional studio productions, in offices, or simply while listening to music and relaxing – while always striving to achieve acoustic perfection.’