How important are the cables on a pair of headphones like this? Levine: Cables are very important – both for the design and the sound. Some people pay a fortune for their equipment but then skimp on the cables. That’s a shame because cables can make such a big difference. I like the retro design of these headphone cables. They remind me of the early days of the music industry. They don’t look like they will get knotted up easily.
Quarré: We spent a lot of time and energy perfecting this product. It would have been a disgrace if we had just used a totally normal, standard cable.
Technical details are one thing. What do you have to say about the way it looks? Can one speak in terms of a “work of art design” here? Levine: A product like this, of course, has to deliver a special sound quality. Otherwise I wouldn’t be interested. But it is equally important for this sound quality to be melded with art and design. As soon as I turned the system on, I knew right away it was also going to be a magnificent listening experience.
Quarré: That’s what we wanted to achieve. The first impression was very important to us. Studies show that a person decides within seven seconds whether they like something or not. Sound properties, naturally, are given priority at Sennheiser. But we also wanted to link functionality with moments of magic. The ear cups on the headphones, for example, are a mix of leather and velour. For the body, we chose Carrara marble that was cut from a single block. It’s a particularly solid material. These headphones will have a special place in living rooms and recording studios.
Levine: People will be talking about these headphones at dinner parties.
Quarré: I also think that listening with them will be an experience. People will sit down together, put them on and each will be quiet for 45 seconds, casually observing what happens.
You work as a producer and a developer. Mixing has to be ambitious. At what point are you satisfied with your work? Levine: I’m not satisfied until a mix is really good. There must be ambitious mixing. Only then do I start passing the headphones around the studio. Everyone should listen to the song. For this, I have two pairs of the same model of Sennheiser headphones. I use one pair myself and I pass the other one around. I’m always afraid that hairspray might damage the headphones.
Quarré: At the end of the development and manufacturing phase, I know the product inside out. I’m not truly satisfied until I have the chance to finally demonstrate headphones like these and receive positive feedback from listeners.