Massdrop Massively Successful Collaboration with Sennheiser on HD6XX Headphones

November 9 2016, 04:10
Massdrop is fast becoming the new market sensation for the audio industry, much in the same way crowdfunding websites have revolutionized the marketing mix, especially for startups. The difference here is how powerful this one million strong audio enthusiast community can be for established brands. In a recent example, collaborating directly with Sennheiser, Massdrop made history with its recent HD6XX headphones campaign, selling 5000 units in a very short time.

Massdrop is a leading group commerce initiative for enthusiasts of premium audio equipment and accessories to engage meaningfully with their customers. Massdrop’s business model is the first to combine elements chosen by enthusiasts, and apply them to product design in collaboration with a manufacturer. For non-enthusiasts seeking the best products, Massdrop significantly acts as a middleman between manufacturers and potential clients, reducing time spent on research and selection, while ensuring the optimal quality and a preferred price point.

The company announced that it has collaborated successfully with Sennheiser on the design, creation and release of the new HD6XX headphones. With the HD6XX campaign, Massdrop and Sennheiser created a new way to bring this very special high-end product to the audio enthusiast community. Massdrop’s industry leading community was familiar with the Sennheiser HD 650 open-back headphones, which have been the company’s flagship from 2003 to 2009, and still remains one of the most popular products on the under-$1,000 category. This made the HD 650 a natural place for Massdrop to engage with Sennheiser, working on a revision of the popular model, to create the new Sennheiser HD 6XX, which has essentially the same sound, enhanced with a few updates, but - more importantly - available at a more affordable price.

The Massdrop HD 6XX replaces the HD 650’s gray color with something darker and more dramatic: a deep midnight blue. The silver nameplates have been swapped for black plates with contrasting silver text — and the Massdrop logo is silk-screened on the inside of the headband, just above the right cup, with the serial number located just above the left cup. Based on feedback from the community, this iteration has also been updated with a detachable 6-foot cable (compared to the original’s 10-foot cable) and a 1/8-inch plug, which is more versatile for everyday laptop, phone, and DAP use than the standard 1/4-inch jack. Of course, the HD 6XX comes with a 1/4-inch adapter for those who want it, but since the cables are detachable, anyone can choose their favorite cable/jack combination. The campaign was limited to 5,000 units, available to both US and international members and every single unit was quickly grabbed. Domestic orders are expected to arrive by December 25th and now Sennheiser will be producing the limited edition in its factory in Ireland.

“Consumers today seek the ability to engage with the developers of their favorite products,” says Steve El-Hage, CEO and co-founder of Massdrop. “However, traditional decoupling of commerce and community burdens fans with limitations that don’t fit their preferences for customization. Massdrop is committed to providing cutting edge products that give our communities the flexibility to both choose from any best-in-breed products available at the optimal price, and provide impactful feedback on product iterations—this collaboration is a shining example. We’re excited to have an esteemed company as Sennheiser participate in Massdrop’s ecosystem to give our audiophile community a better, more delightful audio experience.”

Axel Grell, Portfolio Manager Audiophile at Sennheiser also stated: “We are very happy to work with the Massdrop community. With the HD6XX, we have created a product which is the essence of the existing Sennheiser 600 line, combined with the ideas and needs of the Massdrop community. A perfect match!”

The collaboration with Sennheiser further expands the broad spectrum of custom products the company has delivered to its communities. Today, Massdrop’s communities reach more than two million enthusiasts across all categories, and more than one million in the audio community alone (which unfortunately is labelled “audiophile”, when their motivations are clearly much more consumer-focused).

Massdrop was founded in 2012 by Steve El-Hage and Nelson Wu, and the company now serves over 3 million users. Following the successful Sennheiser HD6XX campaign, now closed, the communities are already engaged in selecting a number of ideal peripherals for the headphones, starting with an integrated DAC and preamplifier. Valuable lessons for audio manufacturers can be found there.
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