The science of sound with new Sennheiser headsets
Rosalinda L. Orosa (The Philippine Star) - April 1, 2013 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - Sennheiser recently launched its new headsets. While it is true that technology has progressed, affording the same to the mainstream consumer market comes at a premium, so much so if the innovation shared is something perfected at a high price.

But the dynamics of price points come into play when the gadget is weighed and tested and found to be not wanting in any respect, then, truly, the end justifies the means. Besides, there are niche markets that corner any upscale market.

Momentum

Momentum, the new headphone from Sennheiser, lets upscale audiophiles experience sound with all their senses. So palpable is the soaring sound, it feels like a listener is sitting right next to the artist performing, hearing all the nuances of the emotions set through in song.

Perfect sound can be heard, felt and seen: the new Momentum from Sennheiser’s Style Selection combines an excellent sound experience with high-quality material and minimalist style. The new headphone is the right choice for anyone unwilling to compromise on sound quality and style.

The high-quality, predominantly natural materials emphasize the headphone’s pure aesthetics. People love it for how it looks and also for how it feels — combining design and luxurious textures to excite the sense of touch with the ultimate in comfort to wear.

The headband and earpads are made from soft and supple leather of the finest quality from traditional English tannery Pittards and are complemented by an ostentatious headband slider of premium stainless steel.

The Momentum’s sound is like its design: pure and unadulterated. Sennheiser made use of established technologies from the high-end headphone sector to ensure a clear stereo sound with excellent detail.

A 3.5-mm stereo plug means the Momentum can be connected to all current media players. For Apple products such as the iPad, iPhone and iPod, there is an additional cable with integrated smart remote and microphone. Buttons set into the elegant metal casing allow you to adjust the volume, select music titles, take phone calls, and activate voice control. And the circumaural ear cups mean you can relax and enjoy your favourite sounds wherever and whenever you like.

“Our passion for perfection is apparent not only in the outstanding technology used in the Momentum but also in its modern distinctive design and selected premium materials,” said Donald Low, product manager at Sennheiser Consumer Electronics, Asia-Pacific. “With striking yet minimalist design, it makes the Momentum the perfect accessory for those keen to display a passion for quality audio with a discrete and stylist authority.”

The highly stylish headphone is available in brown and black through selected Sennheiser sales partners. Retail price for the Momentum starts at P18,590.

IE 800 earphone

IE 800

The IE 800 earphones are the ones with the most innovations per square millimeter. And for precisely that reason, these small in-ear earphones can certainly compete with much larger high-end headphones. They are brimming with groundbreaking ideas to ensure that audiophiles and music lovers can get as close as possible to perfect sound even when they are on the move.

When it comes to audio quality, ear-canal phones have been known to come up against their limits in the past. But the IE 800 sets new standards: with its new model, Sennheiser is now rounding off its top segment with a set of genuinely high-end portable earphones.

“The sound of the IE 800 can easily compete with that of our high-end portfolio,” said Ted Tinedo, Product Group Head of Iontech Inc. These dynamic in-ear phones offer brilliant trebles, precise bass response, and a detailed, life-like sound image with a frequency response of 5 to 46,500 Hertz.

The IE 800 not only boasts of innovative technology but also features a modern design and high-quality materials such as the scratch-resistant ceramic housing. Its purist design language and black/silver finish gives it that certain extra oomph. The high-end earphones were developed and designed at Sennheiser’s headquarters in Germany.

The science behind sound mixing

The interior of the IE 800 conceals many small but effective innovations: the centerpiece is the brand’s specially developed Extra Wide Band (XWB) driver. With a diameter of just 7 mm, it is the smallest wide-band sound transducer currently available in dynamic headphones. Its functional principle guarantees distortion-free sound even at high sound pressure levels.

“Until now, high-quality in-ear headphones have used so-called balanced-armature multi-drivers,” explained senior acoustic engineer Axel Grell. “Reproducing the entire audio spectrum requires several narrow-band drivers to be operated in parallel. However, this results in very slight jumps and delays in music reproduction.”

By contrast, the miniature-size XWB driver developed by Sennheiser is able to perfectly reproduce the entire audible frequency spectrum and beyond. The advantage: music is played back with crystal clarity and with absolute time precision.

The endeavor to fully exploit the sound potential of premium headphones led to a further small but highly effective innovation: a vented magnet system. The idea is actually quite simple and was used for the first time on the HD 700 high-end headphones.

“The oscillating motion of the diaphragm produces an air flow in the magnet system housing that causes the diaphragm to wobble slightly,” explained Dillion Chai, Sennheiser country sales manager. “By positioning two precisely defined vent holes in the housing directly under the magnets, we can cause the air to flow in a specific direction. This minimizes the wobbling motion of the diaphragm and reduces total harmonic distortion to less than 0.06 percent.

With the IE 800, Sennheiser has succeeded for the first time in solving what is known as the “masking effect.” This effect, which has a negative influence on overall sound quality, is due to the way in which the ears work. “The human ear is unable to perceive low volume frequency components of a sound if there are much louder sounds occurring in a lower frequency range at the same time,” explained Grell.

“This means, for example, that very loud low-frequency sounds will ‘mask’ very quiet sounds in the medium frequency range. This is particularly apparent in in-ear headphones. The sealing of the ear canal by the earphones normally causes resonances that result in a peak within the 7kHz to 8kHz range. This has the effect of masking the actual higher-frequency components. This problem has been overcome in the IE 800 by the use of an absorber. Sennheiser’s patented dual-chamber system absorbs the energy of the resonance, thus preventing any unwanted peaks. As a result, all frequency components — even the finest nuances — in the music material become audible,” added Grell.      

The optimum sound properties of the IE 800 are further enhanced by excellent wearing comfort. The housing is made of scratch-resistant, skin-friendly ceramic, while the ear pads consist of skin-friendly silicone. This rules out any risk of allergies or skin irritation.

To guarantee a perfect fit, Sennheiser has developed new ear adapters with an oval shape based on extensive international studies in ergonomics. According to their personal preference, users can choose from a selection of oval (SM/ML) and round (S/M/L) adapters. A protective mesh on the ear cushions effectively protects the drivers against dirt contamination. The revolutionary IE 800 headset retails at P45,900.

In the Philippines, Sennheiser headsets are distributed by Iontech Inc and available at Sennheiser concept stores and authorized retailers.

For more information on Sennheiser’s extensive audio product lines and headsets, log on to www.sennheiserasia.com.

 

AXEL GRELL DILLION CHAI EAR FREQUENCY HIGH MOMENTUM QUALITY SENNHEISER SOUND
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