After over 20 years experience in the microphone field, Blue Microphones has also recently taken the leap into the headphone sector, launching its Mo-Fi headphones late this summer. As CEO John Maier explains “we were only going to enter the category if we had something truly different to offer. As studio monitors have by and large transitioned from passive to active, thereby providing a host of sonic and workflow benefits to recordists everywhere, we saw an opportunity to bring that innovation to headphones.
“There is no question that some segments of the headphone market have been inundated with choices. However, we believe there are definitely un-met needs in the headphone space, and we have sought to develop a product to meet those needs. Innovation is important catalyst of change and can disrupt any existing market. Our mission is to combine technology with Blue's unique innovation to benefit our customers in truly compelling ways.”
New market model?
Flare Audio’s Reference 1 (R1) headphones have broken the mould (pardon the pun) of traditional headphone manufacturing, putting the emphasis on a distortion-free driver, rather than the headphone set as a whole. According to Roberts, both closed and open backed headphones suffer from sound distortions in some way, caused by enclosed residual pressure interference. Flare’s “vortex silencing technology” removes this interference, leading to a distortion-free sound.
Says Roberts (pictured right): “It’s a highly simple technology that will only be cheaper to make. Because it’s all about the vortices, it means you only make one piece out of plastic, pop the driver in and away you go. Whereas traditional headphones you have a molded exterior piece and all kinds of bits inside to control the distortion. Because we’ve identified how to get rid of the distortion, you don’t need any of that and it’s just plain, simple material.”
It’s a piece of technology that Roberts says has caught they eye of “several large companies” but that “when you’re bringing a new technology to the market, the problem is the technology, not the product. If it’s completely new technology, people are hesitant to buy into it until they understand the technology.”
An initial run of 200 headphones are currently being manufactured, but Roberts hopes a Kickstarter campaign – designed to educate the wider public about the new technology, as well as fund smaller versions for earbuds, phones, etc. – will attract enough attention to get other companies to apply for a license.
“This is not over-complex voodoo. This is a very simple breakthrough in understanding that you just needs to be applied in the right way.”
Read PSNEurope's full headphone feature, featuring cans and insight from AKG, Sennheiser, Shure, beyerdynamic and Audio-Technica, here!