Dubai: Would you pay Dh210,000 for headphones?
German audio specialist Sennheiser reckons there’s a big enough demand in the UAE to put the world’s most expensive cans on sale here in November.
The super high-priced HE1 headphones features advanced noise-reduction technology and a frequency range that extends beyond human hearing.
Heston Saldanha, channel manager of consumer/retail at Sennheiser Middle East, said HE1 is regarded by industry experts as the best set of headphones ever produced, and that the increasing popularity of high-end headphones is driven by more demand for better sound quality and technologies such as Bluetooth and noise cancellation.
The HE1’s noise-cancellation works by using external mics to pick up sound around the listener, and uses some nifty processing to create an opposite sound to counter it.
The device, which costs €50,000 (Dh210,000) was showcased at Las Vegas Consumer Electronics Show in January. It’s a successor to Sennheiser’s $55,000 (Dh200,000) Orpheus cans.
The HE1 features the lowest total harmonic distortion that has ever been measured in an audio reproduction system, Saldanha added.
“Lots of people use headphones, whether at home or on the move. Users can Skype with headsets or watch a movie,” he said, adding that the market would continue to grow as technology advances in mobile phones.
According to industry reports, 291 million units of headphones were sold worldwide in 2015 compared to 287 million units in the previous year.
According to Research and Markets, the global wireless audio device market is estimated to witness an annual growth rate of 16.6 per cent over the period 2016 to 2022. This growth is expected due to increasing consumer application and increasing opportunities for the wireless audio devices in the hospitality and leisure sector.
The key players in the industry include Sony, Bose, Sonos, Harman, Beats and Samsung.
Saldanha said no other player in the industry has as wide a product line as Sennheiser has — in-ears, sports, wired and wireless — and from a price range between Dh99 and Dh210,000.
The company’s priciest headphones in the UAE at the moment retail for Dh6,000.
Saldanha said its ‘Momentum’ range of headphones helped it achieve 24 per cent year-on-year growth last year.
“We have never degrown in the last 70 years of inception. This year, we are expecting around 15 per cent growth as we have a much wider product-line this year compared to 2015, not only in price points but also in functionality,” he said.
He said the demand is for wireless headphones, but customers want a mix of both. The trend is towards Bluetooth and wireless, he said.