British Headphones? No. British Hi-Fi? Yes.
Apr 6, 2011 at 12:51 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 19

milkb0at

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Us Brits are awash with great, great hi-fi manufacturers. We have a decent music business (good musicians and bands, lots of decent pro studios) and loads of audiophiles.
 
So where are the British headphone manufacturers? We can make headphones amps, but not the headphones themselves, it seems. Is it still just too niche a market?
 
The only current brand I know off the top of my head is B&W with their P5 headphones, and that's only recently. What happened to all the others?
 
Apr 6, 2011 at 1:00 PM Post #2 of 19

earerror

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Apr 6, 2011 at 1:37 PM Post #4 of 19

ProtegeManiac

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Maybe the Germans (and at risk of sounding Anschluss-y, I mean that includes AKG) did too well with headphones while the Brits did too well with speakers. Wasn't there a time when all small speakers, regardless of who made them, were just referred to as Tannoys?
 
Apr 6, 2011 at 2:28 PM Post #5 of 19

DearestDane

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Manufacturing of headphones very often is combined with manufacturing of (one of) two other kinds of transducers: pickups and microphones, both of which seem to be equally rare in GB.
 
Apr 6, 2011 at 2:38 PM Post #6 of 19

obzilla

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If Bowers and WIlkins could produce a headphone that sounded as good as my B&W 600 set up (685s, HTM62, and ASW608 sub) I would be one happy dude! And I would pay just about any price within reason.
 
The P5s were nice, but not great at anything besides looks and portability convenience (which do matter)... though not really an audiophile headphone by any stretch. In the back of my mind I keep hoping for a "P7" or something up above the P5s where the designers get to go nuts on quality, and not worry so much about whether or not it will do well at the apple store.
 
Apr 6, 2011 at 2:48 PM Post #7 of 19

LugBug1

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Quote:
If Bowers and WIlkins could produce a headphone that sounded as good as my B&W 600 set up (685s, HTM62, and ASW608 sub) I would be one happy dude! And I would pay just about any price within reason.
 
The P5s were nice, but not great at anything besides looks and portability convenience (which do matter)... though not really an audiophile headphone by any stretch. In the back of my mind I keep hoping for a "P7" or something up above the P5s where the designers get to go nuts on quality, and not worry so much about whether or not it will do well at the apple store.


I only had a very quick listen but I agree. Bower and Wilkins have a great reputation and are certainly hitting the mark recently with their Ipod and pc speaker set ups. But it's a bit like buying a Prada shirt...   
 
 
Apr 6, 2011 at 3:37 PM Post #8 of 19

Prog Rock Man

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It is a bit pathetic isn't it? Between Goldring and B&W that is a range of five headphones.Yet in every other area we have loads of makers.
 
Apr 6, 2011 at 3:42 PM Post #9 of 19

chrisjackson

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Time to petition a few speaker manufacturers to produce something like an AKG K1000 for the 21st century? :D
Historically guess there were Wharfedale Iso/Orthodynamic headphones?
http://wiki.faust3d.com/wiki/index.php?title=Wharfedale_ID1_Isodynamic
 
Apr 6, 2011 at 4:31 PM Post #10 of 19

milkb0at

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Quote:
Manufacturing of headphones very often is combined with manufacturing of (one of) two other kinds of transducers: pickups and microphones, both of which seem to be equally rare in GB.

That's a good point.
 
I wonder why we stuck with the "heavy engineering" of loudspeakers while the Germans cornered the market in microphones and headphones.
 
 
Apr 6, 2011 at 5:52 PM Post #11 of 19

chrisjackson

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Quote:
Manufacturing of headphones very often is combined with manufacturing of (one of) two other kinds of transducers: pickups and microphones, both of which seem to be equally rare in GB.

That's a good point.
 
I wonder why we stuck with the "heavy engineering" of loudspeakers while the Germans cornered the market in microphones and headphones.
 


Because we're better cabinet makers. (Hopefully with no yanks looking in on this thread we can mention words like "Chippendale" and "wood" with impunity...) :p
 
Apr 6, 2011 at 7:39 PM Post #12 of 19

baka1969

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I know that speaker manufacturers don't usually make headphones but it would be interesting to see what Harbeth could come up with if they put in a serious effort. I know that traditionally transducer companies like Shure, Senn and Beyer make headphones. I'd just be interested to see what Harbeth would do. Would it be like the B&W effort? Or something world class?
 
Apr 6, 2011 at 10:47 PM Post #13 of 19

ProtegeManiac

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Quote:
Manufacturing of headphones very often is combined with manufacturing of (one of) two other kinds of transducers: pickups and microphones, both of which seem to be equally rare in GB.



Oh, yeah, that. Goebbels really put a lot of money buying microphones back then, and even after he was gone, they still needed a lot for Nuremberg, this time for the trials. By contrast, Winston didn't need as many mics and didn't talk as much. And since manufacturing these were in West Germany and Austria, free(r) trade relations meant people will buy long before they come up with competing products. It's only now with portable audio becoming more and more - err, portable - due to large storage in much smaller devices that more and more head/earphones are coming from more firms not involved in pro-audio manufacturing.
 
 
Apr 7, 2011 at 12:31 PM Post #14 of 19

Prog Rock Man

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With the massive rise in headphone sales, you would think that more than just B&W would look to tap into that market.
 

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