“There Will Be No Successor to the IE 900 in the Foreseeable Future,” Says Sennheiser’s Audiophile Product Manager

We won't see any updates on the IE 900 IEMs, yet.
We won’t see any updates on the IE 900 IEMs, yet.

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He also said that the IE 900 IEMs are the most difficult project he’s ever worked on.

Sennheiser’s top in-ear monitor, the IE 900, won’t have a new version soon, according to Jermo Koehnke, Audiophile Product Manager at Sennheiser. He shared this during a recent “Ask Me Anything” session on Reddit, where he answered questions about the company’s products and future plans.

Sennheiser’s Decision on the IE 900

Jermo Koehnke, standing outside Sennheiser's HQ while wearing the new HD 620S headphones. (From: Reddit)
Jermo Koehnke, standing outside Sennheiser’s HQ while wearing the new HD 620S headphones. (From: Reddit)

When probed for a peek at what’s next for IE 900, Koehnke explained the company’s stance on the IEMs:

“There will be no successor to the IE 900 in the foreseeable future,” he stated. “We worked hard on it and believe it is perfect for the job it’s supposed to do.”

The decision shows Sennheiser’s confidence in the current model’s performance and how they meet the customer needs.

Koehnke stressed the IE 900 are great for what they’re made for, especially their classic Sennheiser in-ear sound. This makes the process of creating the IEMs worth it.

“It’s a bit of a deep topic, but if you like the sensation of space and a somewhat loudness-oriented tuning, I think the IE 900 is the best IEM to buy.” he added.

According to him, the IE 900, featuring a 7mm TrueResponse Transducer and proprietary X3R technology, went through nearly 100 iterations during its development.

Koehnke discussing how the IE 900 was the most difficult project he worked on so far. (From: Reddit)
Koehnke discussing how the IE 900 was the most difficult project he worked on so far. (From: Reddit)

He also noted that while some customers prefer the newer sounds of models like the IE 200 and IE 600, many still love the traditional tuning.

But Koehnke’s strong resolve and trust in Sennheiser’s current tech doesn’t stop there.

When the same user asked about the multi-driver setups, Koehnke explained that Sennheiser doesn’t think they’re needed in their in-ear monitors. He told a story about someone asking their best sound engineer why they don’t use multiple drivers. The engineer said their 7mm system covers all audible sounds with almost no distortion, so extra drivers aren’t necessary.

“When someone external approached our most senior acoustic engineer with that question, he really just asked ‘Why?'” he said.

Other AMA participants have also praised this approach:

People approving of Koehnke's stance on multi-driver setups. (From: Reddit)
People approving of Koehnke’s stance on multi-driver setups. (From: Reddit)

Insights on Current and Future Products

Aside from the topic on IE 900, Koehnke also provided glimpses into the company’s product strategy. Yet, he did so quite carefully.

Koehnke addresses queries on future product releases. (From: Reddit)
Koehnke addresses queries on future product releases. (From: Reddit)

Looking a bit on the past and present, however, Koehnke was also asked about his favorite headphones in the line-up. Here, he confirms that the legendary HD 600 headphones continue to be held in high regard within the company.

“For us it shares the spot with the HE 90 and HE 1. I think with that model a lot of technical breakthroughs occurred in the right moment to build something for eternity.” he said.
Koehnke praises the HD 600 headphones. (From: Reddit)
Koehnke praises the HD 600 headphones. (From: Reddit)

Another interesting discussion is that Koehnke revealed that Sennheiser doesn’t currently see a place for planar magnetic technology in their lineup, particularly for the HD 600 series.

“I don’t think small planar transducers have an advantage over equally-sized dynamic transducers,” he stated. “If we were to build a headphone with a much larger transducer, it would become a different animal than the HD 600 series. So you’ll not see a planar HD 600.” he said.

Of course, Koehnke also talked about Sennheiser’s newest closed-back headphones, the HD 620S.

He mentioned that Sennheiser has proudly been making strides in the closed-back headphone market with the HD 620S.

And, what makes this extra innovative is the fact that closed-back designs require different engineering approaches compared to open-back models.

“Closed-back headphones need to be reliably sealed all around to guarantee consistent performance, and it’s not the best starting point if you can completely disassemble the product by hand,” he elaborated.

Addressing the Issues

Talking about a common issue on HD800S. (From: Reddit)
Talking about a common issue on HD800S. (From: Reddit)

Not surprisingly, some fans have taken the AMA as an opportunity to ask Sennheiser directly of the issues surrounding the brand.

For one, there were talks about what some think were degrading customer service since the Sonova takeover.

Koehnke admitted that customer service had suffered following the separation of Sennheiser’s Pro and Consumer divisions.

“Not everything went completely perfect when the Pro and consumer companies were separated,” he acknowledged.

But, he assured users that improving customer service is “high on our agenda” and that the company recently held a week-long Kaizen session to address these issues.

Koehnke also discussed Sennheiser’s approach to equalization (EQ) and tuning.

“I think it’s overrated,” he said about EQ. “Many modern headphones are enjoyable without EQ, and just chasing a target curve doesn’t necessarily translate to better sound quality.” he says.

On the products side, Koehnke also addressed and dismissed some issues.

People asking about product issues . (From: Reddit)
People asking about product issues . (From: Reddit)

And, when asked about the competitive Chinese IEM market, Koehnke expressed a welcoming attitude towards new entrants.

“I always welcome new entrants to the industry if they bring something valuable, and they demonstrate that the audiophile/music enthusiast hobby doesn’t have a price tag.” he stated.

However, he did clarify that he isn’t too scared of the upcoming ChiFi competition as these brands are mostly focused on IEMs, than headphones. Sennheiser, on the other hand, is more dominant in the headphone market and is technically still new on the IEMs market but still see good growth.

The topic on Sennheiser vs Chi-Fi also came up. (From: Reddit)
The topic on Sennheiser vs Chi-Fi also came up. (From: Reddit)

Lastly, Koehnke also addressed the consumers’ concerns on the change in packaging. He explained that the company has moved away from elaborate packaging to more cost-effective options.

Addressing concerns on 'packaging degradation'. (From: Reddit)
Addressing concerns on ‘packaging degradation’. (From: Reddit)

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