HD 25

From the Concorde to the Clubs – the Legend of HD25


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Super-sonic breakthrough: The speed of the “Queen of the Air,” as the Concorde was known, helped jump start the remarkable success story of Sennheiser 25 headphones. Even today, they continue flying around the world – as an essential piece of equipment for DJs and rock stars.

  • Author: Sennheiser
  • Photos: Sennheiser
„Some Concorde passengers worked in the music industry and were enthusiastic about the sound quality.“

Just one year after their release, HD 25 headphones had already become exactly that: an essential piece of equipment. Starting in 1989, Sennheiser began supplying their product to probably the world’s most famous airplane. “We had good connections to British Airways stemming from the audio entertainment cooperation between Sennheiser and British Airways,” says Paul Whiting, Sennheiser’s head of strategic collaboration. “Sennheiser is a major supplier of communications equipment for airplanes.”

Since then, HD 25 headphones have won several different prizes and awards. But early on, they primarily won over Concorde passengers. Often, they found it difficult to accept that their headphones had to remain on board.

“British Airways asked us if we were interested in collaborating,” Whiting recalls. To that point, in-flight entertainment was not a main focus for Sennheiser. “Because it was primarily based on cheap headphones.” But Sennheiser changed its mind after discussions with British Airways engineers – because the Concorde wasn’t just another airplane. “From a technical point of view, British Airways wanted noise canceling head phones because the Concorde was rather loud. So we recorded the different noises on board and analyzed our technical possibilities at such a volume. There were not sufficient energy resources on board the Concorde to allow for active noise cancelation in the audio sector. So we had to look for alternatives,” Whiting says. Sennheiser found those alternatives in the cockpit, and an engineer designed new headphones based on the ones used by pilots. “We then tested the HD 25s and used them on Concorde flights from 1989 to 2004. That then led to the development of the HD 25 SP for normal consumers.” Some Concorde passengers worked in the music industry and were enthusiastic about the sound quality.

Despite the loud environment on board, HD 25 headphones won over passengers because they canceled out ambient noise. And a new design meant they fit snugly and securely, all qualities that aren’t just in demand above the clouds, but also in the recording studio – and, of course, behind the DJ stand. Every part of the headphones can be moved as desired, such that the HD 25 can be worn to listen to music in one ear and the surroundings in the other – which is essential for precise deejaying.

“For me, HD 25 headphones are the best headphones around,” says DJ Bob Sinclar. “They are flat and they deliver the perfect sound that I need when mixing. They guarantee great sound without being too hard on the ears. They are very precise.”

Bob Sinclair using the HD 25