Sennheiser Opens its Technology and Innovation Center in San Francisco

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For more than 60 years, Sennheiser has stood for the highest quality audio products across all areas of sound recording, transmission and reproduction. This month, the company announces the official opening of its San Francisco- based research lab: SFTC (Technology and Innovation California). The opening ceremony was attended by more then 100 guests from the audio community in the Bay Area. The new research facility — which relocated from Palo Alto in November 2011, is focused on improving the customer experience through digital signal processing (DSP) technologies and combining this with Sennheiser’s world-renowned expertise in electro-acoustics and wireless transmission.

Sennheiser opened its new SFTC facility in San Francisco earlier this month.

As a research hub for Sennheiser, whose slogan is “The Future Made Right Here,” SFTC creates knowledge in selected areas of DSP and facilitates knowledge transfer to Sennheiser’s product teams around the world. Many of these ideas and technologies are then adopted and integrated into Sennheiser’s consumer, professional or installed sound divisions. 

“The Sennheiser culture has always been rooted in innovation and exploring what may be possible in the future,” commented Daniel Sennheiser, president strategy and finance, Sennheiser. “Our new facility in San Francisco leverages an extensive ecosystem of talents that includes not only our own visionary thinkers and researchers, but world renowned academic institutions and corporations. In this environment, our engineers are free to experiment and play with technology and processes that may eventually find its way into various consumer, pro and installed sound applications.”

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The “Concept Tahoe” wireless microphone

“Concept Tahoe”

After it finishes developing and testing a concept, Sennheiser may choose to introduce a prototype model to test its market value and gauge end-user interest.

For example, last year at the prolight+sound and NAMM trade shows, Sennheiser unveiled a project that was under development at its SFTC research laboratory: “Concept Tahoe.”

This wireless microphone prototype — which drew a lot of attention by trade show attendees — is not only able to function as a high quality, professional wireless microphone, but also as an effects and processing controller — providing an unprecedented level of creative options to DJs and performers. This functionality is facilitated by the transmission of control data to a receiver, which can control any number of effects or plug-ins in real time using the MIDI protocol. The microphone can also be transformed into a tambourine or a shaker at the press of a button. By using an accelerometer and a rotation sensor, it measures how quickly it is moving and at what angle in space it is currently located. This prototype was demonstrated during the SFTC opening event, and showcased by beatboxer entertainers Butterscotch and Eklips.

“By moving the location of the SFTC to the Bay Area, our team — and by extension the entire Sennheiser organization — is able to leverage our proximity to the technology industry’s leading innovators, product designers and thought leaders. These include other multi-national companies as well as a unique network of start-ups and highly regarded institutions such as UC Berkeley and Stanford University,” commented Veronique Larcher, director of research, North America, for Sennheiser. “At SFTC, our researchers have access to an enormous pool of talent and imagination; risk taking and the cross-fertilization of ideas is strongly encouraged.”

Sennheiser launched its SFTC in 2006 and since then, its research and development work have been manifested in Sennheiser’s groundbreaking products — including the IS-ADN conference system.

The Sennheiser Group, with its headquarters in Wedemark near Hanover, Germany, is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of microphones, headphones and wireless transmission systems. The family-owned company, which was established in 1945, recorded sales of around €468 million in 2010. Sennheiser employs more than 2,100 people worldwide, and has manufacturing plants in Germany, Ireland and the USA. The company is represented worldwide by subsidiaries in France, Great Britain, Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, Denmark (Nordic), Russia, Hong Kong, India, Singapore, Japan, China, Canada, Mexico and the USA, as well as by long-term trading partners in many other countries. Also part of the Sennheiser Group are Georg Neumann GmbH, Berlin (studio microphones and monitor loudspeakers), and the joint venture Sennheiser Communications A/S (headsets for PCs, offices and call centres).