Back in May 2021, Sennheiser revealed it was selling its consumer division of the company to Sonova. A year on, co-CEOs Andreas and Daniel Sennheiser review this change of culture within the Sennheiser camp, how the company fared over the past two years, and how this new framework is set to improve the companies’ progression within the professional audio sphere.
“One of our main goals over the past 24 months has been making steps to set Sennheiser up for future success, which has involved streamlining many workflow processes,” began Andreas. “The sale of our consumer division was the end of this transition and we can now focus on three core units: Pro Audio, Business Communications, and Neumann. Each one has a different strategy for growth, and with our combined resources, we are now strong enough to go to the next level of success.”
Although confident with the company’s position as we move into 2022, both brothers spoke candidly about the hardship the pandemic inflicted on manufacturers in the sector. “It was difficult to predict trends and demands in the pro audio market,” stated Daniel. “We saw a boost in wired microphone sales, which we attributed to artists and professionals working in their home studio, who had no immediate need for wireless setups.”
As well as having to be flexible to accommodate market demands, like any manufacturer, addressing the issue of the global supply chain was at the forefront of Sennheiser’s road to recovery post-lockdown. “With supply issues – specifically the lack of microchips – we had to step back from our normal planning process into a short cycle process,” he outlined.
As a family business, the team were afforded the flexibility to make decisions when it came to purchasing specific components.
“Thankfully, we have direct access to various core components and were able to continue to create products with little interruption,” stated Daniel.
Like many other manufacturers within the sector, Sennheiser’s core team utilised the enforced downtime imposed by the pandemic to research its customer base and discover what they would like to see when it comes to the next generation of Sennheiser products.
“There’s a strong desire from our customers to create solutions for the digital ecosystem,” informed Daniel.
“The question for us now is how do we slot into this ecosystem? We don’t want to create a whole new one ourselves. At Sennheiser, we believe in an agnostic approach, which allows us to connect seamlessly with established networks. For instance, on the Business Communications side, this would undoubtedly mean integrating our products with Zoom and Microsoft Teams.”
When it came to its live event offerings, both CEOs highlighted the importance of Dante and AES. “We want to ensure the best audio quality for our end users,” stated Daniel. “We also believe we can up our game on the configuration side of preparing for a show, such as making it even easier to set up a wireless system.”
Andreas picked up on the upward trend of immersive audio. “We understood the potential of spatial audio and what it can provide for an audience or individual,” he noted. “Now, with the increase in virtual events and hybrid performances, people seem more susceptible to exploring this idea further, and more importantly, the benefits of reduced listening fatigue – not to mention providing a more realistic experience for the viewer.”
With a focused business model more prepared to cater for the demands of the marketplace, both CEO’s seem optimistic about the future. “Customers are going to see more specific communications along with dedicated products for each strand of our business,” stated Daniel. “We’ve showcased this with Neumann, following the release of MCM, its first clip-on instrument microphone – something we’ve never done before.”
Andreas concurred, adding: “During the COVID-19 pandemic, we launched Evolution Wireless Digital – another example of a sector-specific product, which was frankly a bit of a gamble. Given its success and the positive feedback we have received since the release, we’re looking to expand our EW portfolio in the near future.”
This article originally appeared in issue #269 of TPi, which you can read here.