Sennheiser electronic GmbH & Co. KG is a private German audio company specializing in the design and production of a wide range of both consumer and high fidelity products, including microphones, headphones, telephony accessories, and avionics headsets for consumer, professional, and business applications.
Founded as Labor W and family-owned since 1945, Sennheiser has 2,542 (2013) employees, 51% of them working in Germany. Other companies of the Sennheiser Group include Georg Neumann, which builds studio microphones, and the joint venture Sennheiser Communications A/S (headsets for PSs, offices and call centres; since 2003). In 2013, turnover of Sennheiser totaled €590.5 million.
The company was founded in 1945, just a few weeks after the end of World War II, by Fritz Sennheiser (1912–2010) and seven fellow engineers of the University of Hannover in a laboratory called Laboratorium Wennebostel (shortened, "Labor W"). The laboratory was named after the village of Wennebostel in the municipality of Wedemark, where it had been moved to due to the war. Its first product was a voltmeter.
Labor W began building microphones in 1946 with the DM 1, and began developing them in 1947 with the DM2. By 1955, the company had 250 employees, and had begun production of many products including but not limited to: Geophysical Equipment, the first Noise-Compensated microphone (DM4), microphone transformers, mixers, and miniature magnetic headphones. Labor W was renamed 'Sennheiser electronic' in 1958.
In 1968, Sennheiser released the world's first open headphones. The introduction of open headphones had an impact on the headphone market as they were able to produce a more natural sound that many users preferred. The original open Sennheiser headphones, the HD 414, propelled both the Sennheiser headphones brand, as well as growth of the company with over 10 million units sold, remaining even today the best selling headphones of all time.
Sennheiser was transformed into a limited partnership (KG) in 1973. In 1980, the company entered the aviation market, supplying Lufthansa with headsets.
The company began producing modern wireless microphones in 1982, the same year when founder Fritz Sennheiser handed the management of the company over to his son, Jörg Sennheiser. In 1987, Sennheiser was awarded at the 59th Academy Awards for its MKH 816 shotgun microphone. In 1988, Sennheiser opened a branch in France, another was opened in Ireland and the United Kingdom in 1990, and in 1991, a branch was opened in the United States. Also in 1991, Georg Neumann GmbH, Berlin became a part of Sennheiser.
In 1996, Sennheiser received an Emmy Award for its advancements in RF wireless technology. Also in 1996, Sennheiser became a private limited company (GmbH and Co. KG). Since then, Sennheiser has maintained its tradition of high quality audio technology, and still maintains those high standards today. Professor Dr. Fritz Sennheiser died in 2010.
In 2013, Sennheiser partnered with Headsets.com to release a line of wired headsets named “DeskMate”. The headsets were launched in coordination with a performance by rapper Sabotage and his song “DeskMate rap”. The companies also crowd-sourced the design of the headset's website, offering $5,000 to the best improvement from customers.
On July 1, 2013, Daniel Sennheiser and Andreas Sennheiser were promoted to the position of CEO responsible for Sennheiser electronic GmbH & Co. KG.
In October 2013, Sennheiser received the prestigious Philo T. Farnsworth Award at the 65th Primetime Emmy®Engineering Awards in Hollywood.
In May 2014, Sennheiser founded a new competence center for innovative streaming solutions, Sennheiser Streaming Technology GmbH (SST).
Sennheiser is headquartered in the municipality of Wedemark, Germany (near Hannover). Its United States headquarters is located in Old Lyme, Connecticut. The company has factories in Wennebostel (Wedemark, near Hanover); Tullamore, Ireland (since 1990); and Albuquerque, New Mexico (since 2000). Sennheiser's R&D facilities are located in Germany, Denmark, Switzerland, Singapore and San Francisco, California. Sennheiser has sales branches in France, the UK, Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Russia, Hong Kong, India, Singapore, Japan, China, Canada, Mexico, Malaysia, Australia, New Zealand and the USA.
- Aviation headsets
- Multimedia headsets
- Business headsets
- Micro-Hifi Systems
- Surround Sound Amplifiers
- Conference and Information Systems
- Electronic sound-based components