Dr. Fritz Sennheiser, 1912-2010

May 18, 2010 5:27 PM, By George Petersen


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photo of Dr. Fritz Sennheiser

Dr. Fritz Sennheiser

The New Generation
On May 9, 1982 on Dr. Fritz Sennheiser’s 70th birthday, the management of the company was transferred from father to son, but this did not change Sennheiser Electronic's role as a technology leader. The company has received numerous accolades in this regard, including a 1987 award from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences for the industry-standard MKH 816 shotgun mic and a 1996 Emmy for developments in RF wireless. However, doing things differently has also played a vital role in the company's success. In 1984, Sennheiser was the first medium-sized company in Europe to use modern surface-mount technology. Today, while other companies depend on low-cost third-world manufacturing, Sennheiser has plants in Germany, Ireland and Stateside in Albuquerque, N.M.

In 1991, Sennheiser purchased a financially troubled Neumann, a change that provided the best of both worlds: Neumann had access to modern electronics manufacturing, while the “old-world” processes—such as capsule hand-assembly—would be done under clean room conditions. Other companies might have been tempted to buy Neumann and then cash in via cheap products with a famous name—a familiar scenario—but Sennheiser is committed to maintaining Neumann's reputation for excellence.

The Sennheiser/Neumann relationship continues. The two collaborated on the KK105S wireless mic that combines Neumann's famed KMS105 capsule with Sennheiser's SKM 5000 UHF wireless rig. More recently, loudspeaker manufacturer Klein + Hummel joined the Sennheiser Group.

Sennheiser is successful, but the business integrity instilled by Dr. Fritz Sennheiser remains a priority. Son Jörg Sennheiser once refused a lucrative deal to produce some 200,000 weatherproof mic capsules when he realized they were to be used as land mine triggers. But this has always been the company way, a policy dating back to the early days of Labor W, when Dr. Fritz Sennheiser invested his savings to create jobs for his co-workers.

Dr. Fritz Sennheiser will long be remembered for his life-long passion for making new discoveries. “We were always dissatisfied with the ‘state-of-the-art’ and always wanted to create something new, something better,” he once said. “Our main priority was to have fun in developing something. And we certainly had a lot of fun when we discovered something really new.”

Dr. Fritz Sennheiser leaves behind a vast legacy of innovations and many friends throughout the world. He will not be forgotten.

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