Dr. Fritz Sennheiser Dies at 98
Fritz Sennheiser was two years short of his centennial when he died on May 17 in Germany, where he was born. He founded Sennheiser electronic GmbH & Co. KG in 1945. Over the decades the name Sennheiser became synonymous worldwide with quality audio products, especially microphones and headphones for use by filmmakers, broadcasters, audiophiles, and consumers. For the latter group, the brand became associated with earphones for MP3 players and noise reduction headphones on airplanes.
In a search on the B&H shopping site, there are few names that bring up as many items as "Sennheiser." They range from microphones (wired and wireless) to headphones (noise canceling, audiophile, professional, DJ, and boomsets, wired, and wireless). And there are such accessories as earpads, ear cushions, cables, adapter plugs, power supplies, charging kits, headbands, and Bluetooth systems.
Earlier this month Sennheiser named B&H its Dealer of the Year in their professional audio business category. It was an award that a number of employees in the B&H executive offices felt close to -- literally since they wore HD-280 Pro Circumaural Closed-Back Professional Monitor Headphones as they worked. It's been a long relationship.
Among the products Dr. Sennheiser helped develop:
- The MKH series of shotgun microphones, which made it possible to have wider camera shots since the sound director no longer needed to place the mike close to the speaker. Hollywood recognized this achievement in 1987, when Sennheiser was awarded the Scientific and Engineering Award by the Academy of Motion Picture Ars and Sciences for the MKH 816 shotgun microphone.
- The first open headphones, the HD 414, which departed radically from the conventional bulky, closed models of the time. B&H sill offers Sennheiser foam earpads for the HD 414 phones.
- Inconspicuous wireless microphones that benefitted musicals in particular.
- The first cordless headphones introduced in 1975 that used infrared technology.
Quoting Dr. Sennheiser in a company press release: “As an eleven-year-old boy, I witnessed the introduction of the radio. I built my own receiver out of the simplest of components: a slide coil, a tungsten tip, a crystal and a 20-metre-long radio frequency antenna.”
Over the years Sennheiser influenced the development of sound transmission and electro-acoustics. He retired in 1982, handing the company reins to his son, Jorg Sennheiser.