Finally the rumors for once are not too far off and we have a new headphone in the mid-fi stakes called the HD700 from Sennheiser just recently announced at CES 2012.
Sennheiser press statement:
Las Vegas, 10 January 2012 – Sennheiser’s high-end world still has plenty of excitement to offer. At this year’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, the audio specialist is unveiling a set of new premium headphones, the HD 700. These fully open dynamic stereo headphones combine high-end sound with an innovative headphone design.
“The HD 700 features a perfect combination of outstanding acoustic properties and sophisticated product design,” said Maurice Quarré, Director Product Lifecycle Management Sennheiser Consumer Electronics. “Its styling and material selection have been thought through down to the finest detail in order to fully exploit the sound potential of the acoustic unit.”
The ear cups are designed in such a way that the sound waves are directed to the ears at a slight angle. This results in an impressively natural listening experience. The ear cups themselves have a completely open design. This not only ensures a highly transparent sound but also clearly displays the “heart” of these exciting headphones: the 40 mm Duofol transducer. Its powerful neodymium magnet systems guarantee detailed, lifelike audio reproduction from 10 to 42,000 Hz.
Small details for a great sound
“To ensure that the acoustic properties of the headphones are not impaired by any partial vibrations, the transducer is mounted in high-precision gauze made of stainless steel, as is the case in the HD 800 reference headphones,” explained Axel Grell, Senior Acoustic Engineer at Sennheiser. A new patent-pending feature is the special shape of the gauze, which continues the curved lines of the diaphragm. The resulting curvature reduces the volume of air beneath the diaphragm, thus guaranteeing even more precise control of the diaphragm motion and significantly lowering total harmonic distortion.”
The endeavour to fully exploit the sound potential of the premium headphones led to a further small but effective innovation: a ventilated magnet system. The idea is actually quite simple. “The up and down motion of the diaphragm produces an air flow in the magnet system housing that causes the diaphragm to wobble slightly,” explained Axel Grell. “By positioning precisely defined holes in the housing directly under the magnets, we can cause the air to flow in a specific direction. This minimises the wobbling motion of the diaphragm.” And the result is impressive: with total harmonic distortion of less than 0.03 percent (at 1 kHz and 105 dB sound pressure level), the HD 700 offers brilliant trebles, precise bass reproduction and a crystal-clear sound. Dips in the bass level are effectively suppressed by the patent-pending multilayer design of the headband.
Designed to meet the highest demands
A puristic shape and the black-and-silver finish give the high-end headphones not only a luxuriously elegant but also a high-tech appearance. The ear cushions made of high-quality microfibre fabric guarantee excellent wearing comfort. “The HD 700 fulfils all the wishes of the most demanding music lovers, both in its visual appearance and its outstanding sound quality,” said Maurice Quarré. “Its warm, balanced and detailed sound turns classical music, jazz, rock or soul into a fascinating listening experience. High-end fans are bound to be delighted by these exciting new premium headphones.
Transducer principle: dynamic, open
Transducer: 40mm Duofol Vented neodymium magnet system
Frequency response: 10 – 42000 Hz
Impedance: 150 ohms
Sound pressure level: 105 dB (1 kHz, 1 V)
Sennheiser HD 700: price is not fixed yet
available from mid-March 2012
The rumored pricing is at $999 – is this really true? We shall find out soon enough I guess. Sonic impressions have been very favorable for those lucky enough to be at the CES 2012 and at this price point it does seem a deliberate response to the $900 wonders from Audeze and Hifiman that have been sniping away at the heels of the more costly HD800.