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RIP Sennheiser?


TMoney
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"Sennheiser announced on Tuesday it’s looking for a new partner to buy its consumer audio business, which consists of headphones and soundbars. It’s going to shift its focus entirely to professional audio, including its Neumann microphone division and what Sennheiser calls business communications."

Source: https://www.theverge.com/2021/2/16/22285497/sennheiser-investors-selling-consumer-headphones-soundbars-business

 

This is pretty sad. Makes sense why Axel Grell left now. We haven't seen any really new high-end product from them since the HD-820, and it sounds like we shouldn't expect anything else to be forthcoming. The HD600/650 and HD800/S are my two favorite headphones. I don't think they are going away any time soon, but I doubt Senn is investing heavily in any successor models.

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So they focus on pro audio, and most likely roll all the liabilities into the consumer market side before the sale.

And the new outfit can't meet debt obligations and goes belly up. Seems to be a standard business trick

of the modern world.

That's what the fortune 500 company I used to work for did. Not a good sign for consumer products.

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It is a pity this kind of news. I have always thought that Senn sells products with an excellent quality/price ratio. I still remember when Antonio recommended the HD600 to me back in 2008...

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It's interesting to me that they apparently didn't do very well in 2020.  While it was a shit year on the whole, it was actually a very good year for most consumer audio companies.  I hope they manage to stick around and release an actual successor to the HD800S.  

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Yes, I thought they'd sell more equipment during the pandemic for online classrooms, meetings, Zoom, music recording/performances, etc.

I wonder if more mass-market companies like Logitech and Sony are undercutting them in various categories – the rapid shift to wireless products in the last few years may have caught more traditional companies off-guard.

Edited by HiWire
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I think anyone who has been around audio for a while has owned a hd series headphone. 580,600,650, and 800

were all big milestones. We can hope they don't screw this up. 

 A look through the other site's for sale stuff is a massive cluster of WTF

headphone names nobody has ever heard of. I'm sure this hit their bottom line pretty hard.

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While everyone here might have owned one at some point the simple fact is that they failed to become a mass-market supplier and I'd guess that the Beats/Apple consortium has a huge market share compared to anyone else.  Christ, I own a pair of Beats and while audiophilically (new word, yay) flawed, they do the job they were intended to do better than anything else I tried. I found myself wishing this weekend that they made an active noise cancelling version of mine (the Powerbeats Pro) as they would be a home run for those of us that cannot wear the airpods.

But yes, I agree, this is sucky news for those of us that have bought, owned, and still own Senn's products.

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Press release 

https://en-uk.sennheiser.com/newsroom/sennheiser-to-reposition-its-business-units-independently-of-each-other-1tmuqg

As the CEO says

"The headphone market and the soundbar business in Consumer Electronics offer great growth
potential – despite a highly dynamic market and strong competitive pressure. This is especially
the case for the true wireless headphone market. Our products stand for the best sound and a
unique audio experience. These are crucial factors at the heart of the purchasing decision for
our customers in the Premium Headphones, Audiophile, Enhanced Hearing and Soundbars
segments. Together with a partner, we want to build upon these strengths. In addition, it is
crucial to increase the visibility of Sennheiser products in the market in order to participate in
sustainable growth"

End of an engineering led era? 

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Brands come and go. I've been around long enough to see the demise and reprise of vinyl. Audiophile headphones are a relatively new market through my eyes. And IMO they've oversaturated the market with too many brands. Someone had to fall victim. 

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True enough, Steve. Shame it had to be a good one. I can’t think of any major headphone manufacturer save Stax whose engineering I trust more. While they definitely let a lot of expensive junk out the door, they are still well above the Mendoza line for me.

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Like I'm sure all of you, my favorite memories of this hobby are all people-oriented, with headphone-related gear just excuse to get together, but my favorite headphone memories, sometimes with people whose names I no longer remember, are almost all early and Sennheiser-related. Those first Grado v. Sennheiser online debates, showing up to a meet with a pair of CD3000s when everyone else had HD580/600s, blind-testing after-market cables I couldn't then really afford over drinks, starting to understand just how much Senns could grow with a... Singlepower amp, the first time time I was in a room with two Orpheuses, etc.

Due to a couple reasons, I've ended up with three new pairs of [Mass]Drop Sennheisers over the last year. Sometimes during work I end up with one on my head and another around my neck. They're so cheap now they can be applied almost everywhere. They get more use than my HD800s. And I will probably pick up a replacement HD-25 II when I return to the office.

Which is all to say I hope they stick around in some form. If not, I'd miss them much more than nearly any other brand.  

Just went back and read... 

https://www.stereophile.com/headphones/1294senn/ 

 

  

Edited by blessingx
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1 hour ago, Sherwood said:

True enough, Steve. Shame it had to be a good one. I can’t think of any major headphone manufacturer save Stax whose engineering I trust more. While they definitely let a lot of expensive junk out the door, they are still well above the Mendoza line for me.

Completely agree. I wish it had been Skullcandy or even Beyerdynamic. 

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They might (or even should) partner with an electronics leading company that could compete with Apple, so they would sell tons of headphones and soundbars in the largest markets, or the ones with huge growth potential, which are these days chinese and india. Perhaps Huawei, Xiaomi, or Samsung in the worst case. That would allow them to sell the kind of products that people want, those tiny wireless noise-cancelling shitty things, and adapted wireless 3D faking soundbars for their monitors and TVs.

I'm afraid that wired headphones are going to be an even more niche market that will be led by shitty flashy products a la Beats or Hifiman.

Edited by Torpedo
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I'd be ok if Sennheiser streamlined down to pro/audiophile-centric models (HD25/280/600/650/800S/820), selling them accordingly, & offloaded consumer models (read: HD59x, cheaper earbuds, wireless, etc.)

Edited by jpelg
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This sucks. I guess with such a crowded market, they had a hard time selling enough mid-fi units to the mobile masses, and their higher-end units just don't generate enough sales to keep the company viable. I'm not a headphone hobbyist, I wouldn't even call myself much of an audiophile, but I use my HD600 all the time for listening and for musician stuff. It strikes the perfect balance between comfort, good neutral sound, and low enough cost that I don't worry about babying it to keep its resale value in my chaotic studio. I hope they keep making them.

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I wonder if the Drop HD58X & HD6XX ended up hurting them?  No doubt they are hugely successful products for Drop but how much did they help Senn's bottom line?  I can't imagine they sold many 580/600/650's after those came out.  

I think the 800/800S were successful for them but they have alot more competition at that end of the market these days.  It also probably didn't help that both the 660S and 820 were largely failures and not very well regarded.  

 

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