05.20.2010 02:00 PM
Audio Pioneer Fritz Sennheiser Dies at 98
HANOVER, GERMANY: Dr. Fritz
Sennheiser passed away late during the evening of May 17, just a few days after
his 98th birthday, the venerable audio company that bears his name said. Sennhieser founded
Germany’s Sennheiser electronic GmbH & Co. KG.
“The audio industry has lost a huge figure, not only in terms of his technical
expertise but also in terms of his humanity,” the company said.
Dr. Sennheiser was a cryptographer in 1945 when he founded an audio laboratory that became the company. He was described by
Radio World as “the last survivor of post-World War II German audio
pioneers who started with leftover scraps and built international companies of
Dr. Sennheiser described his early response to radio: “As an 11-year-old boy, I
witnessed the introduction of the radio. I built my own receiver out of the
simplest of components--a slide coil, a tungsten tip, a crystal and a 20-meter-long
radio frequency antenna.”
He was, however, a passionate gardener and planned to become a landscaper after
finishing grammar school in Berlin in 1932. But with Germany in the grip
of a depression, the career prospects for gardening were meager. Dr. Sennheiser
elected to go with his second love, entering the Technical University in Berlin
to study electrical engineering.
Dr. Sennheiser’s subsequent influence on the development of sound transmission
technologies brought about the first shotgun microphones and open headphones.
He was instrumental in the creation of wireless radio and infrared
transmissions, his company said.
“It was completely natural for Fritz Sennheiser to give his developers
the ‘creative and technical freedom’ they required,” the company said. “His
humanity also shone through when--considering the significant workload involved
in running an expanding company--he took time to share his knowledge with
students, inspiring them with an enthusiasm for audio technology.”
He retired in 1982, handing management over to his son, Dr. Jörg Sennheiser.
-- Deborah D. McAdams