Friday, 02 September 2016 10:43

Sennheiser sounds good at IFA

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At this year’s IFA Berlin (Internationale Funkausstellung – International Radio Exhibition), German company Sennheiser released four new corded headphones series and three new microphones, including one for the action camera scene.

I am a fan of Sennheiser which was founded by Fritz Sennheiser in Germany in 1945 – a few weeks after the end of World War II. It started with microphones and still dominates that space. Headphones came in 1968 “producing a more natural sound that many users preferred".

Its big break in that regard was when in 1980 it started supplying another German company, Lufthansa Airlines, with headsets. I have been an avid user of their microphones and headsets (used to own an AV staging company called TheatreSound) since the 90s.

Sennheiser’s natural sound signature has been best summed up by Head Hi-Fi as “Having balanced headphones with exceptionally large sound stages that present classical music [and a lot of other genres] well".

There are six basic sound signatures that describe the natural state of the headphone and I use these in reviews. Of course, you can have a combination of two or more, and many have equaliser and sound profile apps that can change the signature entirely.

  1. Analytical: (bass/mids recessed, treble boosted)
  2. Balanced: (bass boosted, mids recessed, treble boosted)
  3. Bass: (bass boosted, mids/treble recessed)
  4. Mid: (bass recessed, mids boosted, treble recessed)
  5. Warm and Sweet (bass/mids boosted, treble recessed)
  6. Bright Vocal (bass recessed, mids/treble boosted)

Audio signatures

To make that a little more relevant, Apple/Beats - Analytical; Klipsch, and Sennheiser - Balanced; Monster - Bass; Sony/TDK - warm and sweet; and Mid tends to be most of the lower cost headphones. I prefer Balanced for most genres.

Back to Sennheiser.

SH PXC 480PXC 480 wired. These are essentially the wired version of the PXC 550 Bluetooth recently reviewed by iTWire and rated as the top of its class.

Adding a cable means battery life is extended to 50 hours with its hybrid active noise cancellation (NoiseGuard). It also means that critics of “Bluetooth fidelity” are catered for. The fold flat design and its gibbous moon shaped case are ideal for travellers.

SH HD 4HD 4 series: The closed-back, around-ear, noise insulating, HD 4 series includes the HD 4.20s, HD 4.30i, and HD 4.30G – headphones that deliver brilliant, bass-driven sound with contemporary style and robust build quality. Best described as “natural headphones” that will faithfully reproduce any music content they are an ideal partner to mobile devices and have tangle-free, single-sided cables which include smart remotes and in-line microphones for easy phone calls.

 

 

 

 

SH HD 2HD 2 series: Ultra-slim portable on-ear headphones includes the HD 2.10 and HD 2.20s as well as the HD 2.30i and HD 2.30G, which are available in both black and white variants. The HD 2.20s features a one-button smart remote and microphone for answering calls, while the HD 2.30i and HD 2.30G are optimized for either iOS or Android smart devices.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SH HD 559HD 500 series: Powered by Sennheiser’s proprietary transducer technology for excellent sound performance. The new over-ear headphone range includes three open-back designs, the HD 559, HD 579 and range-topping HD 599, as well as the closed-back HD 569. All four models feature large ear cups and soft, replaceable ear pads. Created with Sennheiser’s “Ergonomic Acoustic Refinement” (E.A.R.) technology, the headphones have been designed to more effectively channel the audio signal directly into the ears of the listener for a more satisfying listening experience.

 

SH Go ProAction Camera Microphone: Designed as the ideal audio partner to a GoPro camera in its ultra-tough housing, it adds fantastic sound quality. It has been created to go anywhere that a GoPro can, easily withstanding adverse conditions such as the wind, water, snow and splashes of mud. Due to its advanced capsule design, special windshield and watertight connection with the camera housing, the action microphone will even be able to record audio under water.

SH Camera MicDSLR camera stereo mic MKE 440: It uses a new stereo arrangement to capture focused stereo sound from within the camera’s field of view. As well as being the most compact stereo shotgun microphone on the market, this breakthrough approach helps solve a typical challenge encountered by DSLR users – getting great stereo sound from a camera mounted mic. It employs two mini-shotguns mounted in a V-shape arrangement that predominantly pick up the sound from within the direction of filming, rejecting the majority of off-axis noise from outside the camera focus. It succeeds where classic stereo set-ups struggle, as they also capture sound and noises from the sides.

SH DigiMicSmartphone/tablet HandMic Digital: A new rugged microphone that’s ideal for capturing high-quality vocal recordings on mobile devices. The HandMic digital uses an Apogee A/D converter and pre-amp to translate sound into the digital realm while maintaining the famed Sennheiser quality and presence. As a mic designed for mobile use, this cardioid dynamic handheld is highly resistant to EMI/cell phone interference and therefore ideal for mobile journalism, podcasting or vocal, and instrument recording.

IFA announcements can take time to get to market. Australian availability and pricing will be listed on Sennheiser’s website.

 

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Ray Shaw

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Ray Shaw ray@im.com.au  has a passion for IT ever since building his first computer in 1980. He is a qualified journalist, hosted a consumer IT based radio program on ABC radio for 10 years, has developed world leading software for the events industry and is smart enough to no longer own a retail computer store!

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