We are back with our "How to buy Headphones?" video series in which we will be approaching the top industry experts and electronics brands in the UAE who offers high-end headphones in the region. This time, we approached Sennheiser, one of the most popular and successful headphone brands in the market. We spoke to Taimoor Hafeez, the Product Manager of Consumer division at Sennheiser Middle East. Check out the video below.
Q: Do you have any tips on how the consumer should buy the headphones?
A: Well, you got three broad categories of headphones: Around the ears, On-ear, and In-ear. And based on your personal comfort and wearing style, you’re going to prefer any of these three. You also got open-back and closed-back headphones. Open-back is better for more natural sound, but it lets sound in as well, so they are preferable to be worn indoors, in your house or your office for instance.
Closed-back headphones are what that majority of people like to use because it provides good, natural and passive sound isolation. Your earphones, on-ear headphones do provide natural sound isolation, so people traveling out in the malls and outside would prefer closed-back headphones. It’s purely on your personal preference, daily usage so you can go for either one of these.
Q: What are the advantages of wireless over wired headphones?
A: Wireless headphones are basically the trend moving forward in the industry. We started seeing this with the Apple iPhone 7 and moving forward with Android phones. So, compatibility-wise and futureproof-wise, wireless is definitely an advantage over wired headphones. When it comes to sound quality, you can never beat wired headphones. But in terms of wireless technology like Bluetooth 4.1 and aptX codecs, you’re getting near-CD level sound, and honestly, when you’re in an environment where it’s slightly noisy anyways, you are going to have a hard time discerning the difference between FLAC files or other types. We invest a lot in this and I think the sound quality is near-enough, so wireless is definitely the better choice.
Q: How does the size of the driver in headphones matter for music experience?
A: The larger the driver size, the more natural the sound, simply because of the fact that the surface area of the driver provides more instrument separation, better vocal and a cleaner experience at the end of the day. While you do get a better sound experience, you still need to power these drivers more and you need to go into territories where you need amplifiers. Larger drivers are good, but it’s sometimes impractical as well.
Q: How important is the material of the ear cups?
A: It’s important because that’s one of the only points of contacts that the headphone has with the human skin. The better quality is the earcups, the more pleasant will be the experience for the user. Leather, for instance, is more breathable and natural. It feels comfortable, compared that to cloth or some other material, and sometimes, over time with usage, it becomes a bit uncomfortable. You may start sweating with not enough breathing room in the ear. So, having the right material for ear-cups is very important. If you’re the type of person who is very particular about comfort, you need to make sure that the material of the ear-cups is something suitable for you.
Q: What are the different types of headphones Sony can offer to music listeners?
A: Sennheiser has been in the industry for 72 years, and over the past seven decades, we have created headphones and headsets that give people the kind of experience that they need, based on their usage, such as sports, gaming headsets, wireless, and noise-cancelling for people who travel a lot. A cool category that I want to touch on is the wireless TV headphones that we got, which is really beneficial for people who want to watch late night TV or gaming sessions and when they don’t want to disturb anyone else in their house.
Audiophile headphones, which is our bread and butter is something that we started way back in the beginning and what we are known for. Personally, we cater to every need that you can think off and provide excellent headphones for different price ranges as well within each category.
Q: How can customers choose the right model that suits their music needs if they cannot try out the headphones at the retail outlets?
A: Sennheiser has a Shop-in-Shop in Jumbo Electronics at the Mall of the Emirates, where we have most of our range out on display such as audiophile, DJ and gaming headphones. In case, if you can’t go over there (or we understand that not a lot of retailers are able to carry all the units), then the obvious answer will be online reviews for instance. You can check out Amazon or other customer user reviews as well. Those are more useful in terms of product launches. In case you have a friend who also uses a Sennheiser headphones, you can demo them out.
Q: Which headphones do you prefer and why?
A: Using Sennheiser headphones, I actually have preferences for a lot of our different headphones, especially in the audiophile range. My personal favorite is actually the Momentum headphones. This is the wired version specifically. The beauty of the Momentum headphones is the sound signature, that was the first and most important aspect when developing these headphones.
The sound is absolutely gorgeous, especially when listening to music. The sound signature itself is really tuned to have a very nice musical experience. Apart from that, the look and feel of it, especially the materials used over here, we got actually got cow leather coming from Tannery London for instance. The drivers are nice and big, and the around ear design makes it comfortable to wear, especially for people like me who wear spectacles.